Brussels Daily
14 Dec 2016


Brussels Daily


EU approves new rules for Member States to drastically cut air pollution

Today the European Parliament and the Council have signed into law the new National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive, based on a Commission proposal, which sets stricter limits on the five main pollutants (fine particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds, and ammonia). It will enter into force on 31 December 2016.When fully implemented, the Directive will reduce by almost 50% the negative health impacts of air pollution, such as respiratory diseases and premature death, by 2030. The role of the Member States in coordinating and implementing the new rules at national level is very important. Member States must transpose the Directive into national legislation by 30 June 2018 and produce a National Air Pollution Control Programme by 2019 setting out measures to ensure that emissions of the five main air pollutants are reduced by the percentages agreed by 2020 and 2030. They must also coordinate with plans in fields such as transport, agriculture, energy and climate. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, said: “The new European air quality rules are a significant landmark in the fight against this invisible killer that is air pollution. Air pollution kills over 450 000 people in Europe each year. This is more than ten times as many as road traffic accidents. Now it is for the national governments to start with implementation so that people can benefit from cleaner air. We will work with Member States to support them in this challenge for improving the health of EU citizens.” The Directive is the central element of the Commission’s more comprehensive Clean Air Programme for Europe. A press release and MEMO are available online.


EU ministers agree on fishing catch limits for 2017: fishermen to benefit from a higher number of healthier stocks  

A unanimous agreement on fishing opportunities for 2017 in the Atlantic, North Sea and Black Sea was reached last night by EU ministers following negotiations at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 12 – 13 December. The negotiations were based on the Commission’s proposals, presented by Commissioner Karmenu Vella. The EU’s reformed Common Fisheries Policy aims to ensure that by 2020 at the latest, all stocks are fished at levels that allow the fishing industry to take the highest amount of fish from the sea while keeping fish stocks healthy, known as maximum stainable yield (MSY). In 2009, only 5 stocks had catches set at MSY. Yesterday’s agreement will bring 44 stocks to MSY levels. Commenting on the outcome of the Council, Commissioner Karmenu Vella said: “Today we have taken another important step towards sustainable fisheries, a core objective of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. I am proud to say that our push for healthy fish stocks is starting to pay off: following years of disciplined fisheries policy, scientists this year advised increasing catch limits for several stocks in the Atlantic and North Sea. This is encouraging, and shows that sustainability really does get fishermen the best deal.” Evidence indicates that effective conservation policies and economic profitability go hand in hand. The economic performance of the EU fleet has improved considerably, from a loss-making position in 2008 to generating increasingly higher net profits over the past 3 years. This increased profitability is very much driven by the increase in the amount of stocks being fished sustainably. Full remarks by Commissioner Vella at the press conference and details of the agreement are available.



BXL WEDNESDAY Daily-News-14-12-2016

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