Most EU member states not on track to reduce emissions

26 June, 2020

By ECCT staff writers


Most EU member states are not on track to reduce air pollution and its related impacts by 2030. This is according to the first Commission report to assess the implementation of the National Emission reduction Commitments Directive (NEC Directive) published today. According to a news article about the report on Europa, the EU’s official website, EU member states are at risk of not complying with their 2020 or 2030 emission reduction commitments.


While some member states show good practices that should be inspiring for others, the report demonstrates the need for additional measures in order to reduce air pollution. The commission will continue to monitor and support national efforts in this regard, through financial and non-financial tools. Efforts are especially needed in agriculture to reduce ammonia emissions, which is the most common and severe implementation challenge across the EU.


Effective implementation of clean air legislation forms an essential contribution to ‘a zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment' announced by the commission in the European Green Deal and related initiatives. Synergies with climate and energy policies need to be enhanced and further assessed, also in line with the European Green Deal approach.


Alongside this implementation report, the commission today also released its consultants' analysis of each Member State National Air Pollution Control Programme and emission projections, as well as an EU-wide horizontal report bringing together this information.

The National Emission reduction Commitments Directive, which entered into force on 31 December 2016, is the main legislative instrument to achieve the 2030 objectives of the Clean Air Programme. When fully implemented, the directive would reduce by almost 50% the negative health impacts of air pollution by 2030, and bring substantial benefits for the environment and climate.


The directive sets national emission reduction commitments for the periods 2020-29 and more ambitious ones for 2030-onwards for five important air pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), sulphur dioxide (SO2), ammonia (NH3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5).


Compliance with the 2020 emissions reduction commitments will be checked in 2022, when the emission inventories for 2020 become available.

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