On Thursday, the European Union (EU) announced that it has filed a suit against it’s biggest members, including Britain, Germany, and France, for excessive air pollution levels.
“The decision to refer Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU has been taken on behalf of Europeans. We have said that this Commission is one that protects. Our decision follows through on that claim. The Member States referred to the Court today have received sufficient ‘last chances’ over the last decade to improve the situation. It is my conviction that today’s decision will lead to improvements for citizens on a much quicker timescale. But legal action alone will not solve the problem. That is why we are outlining the practical help that the Commission can provide to the national authorities’ efforts to promote cleaner air for European cities and towns,” said Karmenu Vella, commissioner for the environment.
Britain, France, and Germany, along with Hungary, Italy, and Romania are all being sued for not only exceeding the pollution levels. mostly due to traffic and industry emissions, but for also failing to introduce measures to cut down on emissions.
The EU also sent warning letters to Germany and other countries inquiring about the sale of vehicles that don’t meet the EU’s emission standards. This is following the recent diesel-emissions scandal.
“IAV GmbH, an engineering company based in Berlin, is expected in the coming months to face allegations that it aided Volkswagen in the auto maker’s nearly decadelong conspiracy to rig diesel-powered vehicles with illegal software that allowed them to pass U.S. government emissions tests and then pollute far beyond legal limits on the road, the people said,” writes The Wall Street Journal.
After the scandal was exposed, the EU commissioner for internal market and industry Elzbieta Bienkowska expressed disappointment in the car manufacturers.
“We will only succeed in fighting urban air pollution if the car sector plays its part,” said Bienkowska. “Manufacturers that keep disregarding the law have to bear the consequences.”
Germany denies the accusations that it violated the EU’s car approval rules and instead, blames the car makers.
“Of course the car companies will be held liable for their cheating,” said Andreas Scheuer, Transport Minister. “No other member state has taken such wide-ranging and strict measures as Germany and communicated in such an open and transparent manner with the commission.”
Germany’s top administrative court issued a ruling to remove diesel vehicles from the road back in February.
“Chancellor Angela Merkel, under pressure to avoid driving bans that would harm Germany’s automakers, said her government has taken unprecedented steps to reduce pollution blamed on diesel cars and will pursue those measures,” writes Bloomberg.
“The European Commission certainly is aware of the path we’ve taken and I believe we will be making very quick progress on a number of fronts,” said Merkel.
Environmentalists are applauding the EU’s efforts to serve its members consequences.
“This long-overdue announcement shows governments they cannot go on allowing citizens to be poisoned by toxic air,” said Julia Poliscanova of Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based advocacy group.
The EU members being sue face up to hundreds of millions of Euros in fines. However, the Court of Justice of the European Union takes an average of two years to issue a ruling.
“Tuesday’s decisions follow intense negotiations since January between EU officials and nine members of the bloc—also including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Spain—to meet limits on nitrogen-oxide levels in place since 2010 and particulate matter caps imposed in 2005. The three countries that weren’t referred to court are implementing adequate measures, Brussels said, adding it would “closely monitor” implementation,” writes the WSJ.
The countries in the suit will then likely be forced to adopt measures to limit pollution levels.
Author’s note: The EU is ridiculous, they all agree to reduce pollution and then sue themselves when they don’t. The liberal agenda of the EU strikes again and is enforcing its will upon the individual members. Just another reason to detour members from staying in the union.