Capital Cities Lose Last Round in EU Court Fight for Cleaner Air
(Bloomberg) -- European capital cities lost their fight for tougher clean-air rules in a series of decisions by the European Union’s top court over EU legislation they said was too lax to effectively slash pollution.
The EU Court of Justice on Thursday overturned an earlier decision for the cities of Brussels, Madrid and Paris, saying their initial challenges were inadmissible because the bloc’s rules didn’t directly concern them.
The European Commission has been cracking down on EU nations over dirty air for years, including in the U.K., Germany and France, accusing them of failing to meet limits on nitrogen oxide, which is mostly caused by road traffic and industry. EU court judges have also in a series of rulings chided countries, including for “persistently” exceeding limits.
A lower court in 2018 backed the challenges from the three cities against EU legislation to fight air pollution, when judges found they set “excessively high” allowable levels for emissions from new cars and commercial vehicles.
The European Commission, Germany and Hungary had challenged the 2018 court rulings, in part because they didn’t think the cities could directly challenge EU rules.
An adviser to the EU’s top court in June said in a non-binding opinion that the EC “unlawfully altered the existing emission limits,” that had been adopted by EU governments and the European Parliament.
The cases are: Cases C-177/19 P, C-178/19 P and C-177/19 P – Germany, City of Paris & Others v. Commission, Hungary, City of Paris & Others v. Commission and Commission v. City of Paris & Others.
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