Big Cities Win Boost in EU Court Fight for Clean Air

Paris, Brussels and Madrid won another boost in their fight for tougher clean-air rules, after an adviser to the European Union’s top court backed an earlier decision attacking EU rules deemed too lax to fight pollution.

The European Commission “unlawfully altered the existing emission limits” that had been adopted by EU governments and the European Parliament, Advocate General Michal Bobek of the EU Court of Justice said in a non-binding opinion on Thursday.

The trio of cities partly won a 2018 ruling against EU legislation to fight air pollution, with judges finding that they set “excessively high” allowable levels for emissions of oxides of nitrogen from new cars and commercial vehicles.

The European Commission, Germany and Hungary appealed. The court’s opinion on Thursday said the appeals should be dismissed.

The advocate general said that the EU rules set “oxides of nitrogen emission limits” and only the EU governments and the European Parliament “were entitled to amend the emission limits with the commission lacking the power in that regard.”

The cities initially sued the commission in 2016, shortly after the new EU rules were published, accusing the regulator of overstepping its powers by imposing measures less demanding than ones set out in the so-called Euro 6 standard.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.