EU countries demand 10 extra years to meet air pollution targets

By Louise Guillot | 02/16/2024 06:26 AM EST

Countries’ insistence on more flexibility sparks row with Parliament.

Volunteers of the NGO Good Karma Projects pick up plastic nurdles at La Pineda beach.

With tougher air pollution targets, EU countries are calling for an extra 10 years to reach goals set by the EU. Josep Lago/AFP via Getty Images

BRUSSELS — EU countries are insisting on a decade-long delay in meeting new air pollution targets, pumping the brakes in the EU’s fight against dirty air.

As part of its pledge to achieve zero pollution by 2050, the EU is introducing tougher air pollution targets to address a growing public health issue that caused 253,000 premature deaths across the bloc in 2021.
zero pollution by 2050
253,000 premature deaths

But EU countries are pushing back, insisting they may need up to 10 extra years to achieve the goals.


That’s putting them at odds with the European Parliament, which argues that countries need to speed up, not slow down, efforts to slash levels of toxic air pollution.