Julie Girling reveals that discussions with EU Commission indicate air quality package still up for discussion
A senior Conservative MEP has claimed that she has received assurances from the EU Commission that the planned Air Quality policy package will not be dropped entirely from the EU’s work programme.
In December, the European Commission under President Jean-Claude Juncker and Vice President Frans Timmermans, confirmed plans to drop a series of Clean Air legislative proposals developed by the previous administration and to instead modify elements of proposed stricter limits put forward in the National Emissions Ceiling Directive (see airqualitynews.com story).
However, Mrs Girling has revealed that following private meetings with Mr Timmermans and Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella, it has been confirmed that the Commission is not withdrawing the air-quality package althogether. She claimed that instead the Commission has emphasised the need for ‘synergy’ with the climate and energy package.
Mrs Girling, who is the Parliament’s rapporteur on air quality legislation, said: “I have been assured by the Commissioner that the legislative process will continue as planned and I will be sticking to my timetable as rapporteur.
“Air quality is such an important issue and we will need robust rules in place that allow us to tackle this. After all the recent rumours around the new work programme, I was pleased to hear from both Commissioners that this is indeed the case.
“I am confident that we can come up with a solution that delivers real value here without imposing unnecessary burdens on industry or members states.
The MEP for South West England and Gibraltar added: “Of course we fully support the principle of better regulation and we are right behind Mr Timmerman’s in his quest to weed out legislation that is ineffectual, intractable or just plain bad. However, the air quality package is none of those things. It would have been wrong to scrap it wholesale.
“We are therefore happy that our constructive arguments in meetings with key commissioners have been heard and apparently accepted.”