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Procedure : 2001/2249(COS)
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Wednesday, 13 March 2002 - Strasbourg
CAFE Programme (procedure without debate)

European Parliament resolution on the Commission communication on the Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) Programme: Towards a Thematic Strategy for Air Quality (COM(2001) 245 – C5&nbhy;0598/2001 – 2001/2249 (COS))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication (COM(2001) 245 – C5&nbhy;0598/2001),

–  having regard to Article 175 of the Treaty,

–  having regard to the sixth environmental action programme,

–  having regard to Council Directive 96/62/EC of 27 September 1996 on ambient air quality assessment and management(1),

–  having regard to Council Directive 94/66/EC of 15 December 1994 amending Directive 88/609/EEC on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants(3),

–  having regard to Council Directive 96/61/EC of 24 September 1996 on integrated pollution prevention and control(4),

–  having regard to Council Directive 1999/13/EC of 11 March 1999 on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in certain activities and installations(5),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2002/3/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 February 2002 relating to ozone in ambient air(6),

–  having regard to Rule 47(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy and the opinion of the Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism (A5&nbhy;0055/2002),

A.  whereas the sixth environmental action programme prescribes the development of thematic strategies in the environmental field; whereas the CAFE (Clean Air For Europe) programme is the first of these strategies,

B.  whereas the general objective of the CAFE programme is to draw up a long-term integrated strategic policy for combating air pollution in order to protect human health and the environment,

C.  whereas combating air pollution is one of the main aspects of sustainable development policy; whereas, moreover, the objective of sustainable development cannot be attained without a genuinely integrated policy to combat air pollution,

D.  whereas the fifth environmental action programme states that "All people should be effectively protected against recognised health risks from air pollution",

E.  whereas Article 11(2) of Decision No 2179/98/EC states that particular attention shall be given to developing and implementing a strategy with the goal of ensuring that critical loads, in relation to exposure to acidifying, eutrophying and photochemical air pollutants, are not exceeded,

F.  whereas the European Parliament has stressed on numerous occasions that critical loads and levels of acidifying, eutrophying and photochemical air pollutants should not be exceeded after 2020,

G.  having regard to the progress made in combating air pollution under the Auto-Oil I and II programmes, in respect of some sectors and some pollutants, as a result of technical and non-technical measures,

H.  having regard to the work that remains to be done in all pollutant industries and in respect of the main pollutants, including CO2, the level of which is forecast to continue rising into 2005,

I.  whereas some pollutants are not subject to regulatory proposals,

J.  whereas, inter alia, ground-level ozone and particulate matter pose a serious risk to public health in Europe, especially for vulnerable groups of the population,

K.  whereas Community legislation against air pollution is based on different structures and methodologies; whereas a coherent framework is needed,

L.  whereas a large number of these Community legislative texts are due for review and revision in 2004,

1.  Welcomes the Commission's proposal to combine the majority of its measures against air pollution within one thematic strategy which will provide a useful tool for the Community to use in attaining its long-term objective of critical loads and levels for the four air pollutants covered by the directive on national emission ceilings and the secondary air pollutants arising from these four pollutants;

2.  Considers the CAFE strategy to be an incentive for an integrated approach to Community environmental legislation, but stresses that its general nature must not be an obstacle to the introduction or review of more specific measures; calls on the Commission to inform the Council and Parliament regularly about this; considers that the general approach must not lead to the delaying or abandonment of the assessment and possible review of existing air quality directives and national emissions ceilings;

3.  Notes that several Community legislative texts concerning the combating of air pollution are due to be revised in 2004; expects the Commission to present its reviews of the legislation in force followed by proposals for revision so that the revised legislation may be applied as swiftly as possible;

4.  Believes that the CAFE programme could demonstrate the feasibility of actions and types of measures needed in order to reach the Community's long-term objectives relating to air pollution;

5.  Stresses the urgency of this activity, and the necessity that CAFE proposals for measures are delivered according to the schedule laid down, i.e. by the end of 2004 at the latest;

6.  Calls on the Commission, in view of the considerable work that remains to be done in the fight against air pollution, to propose further courses of action for all industries and pollutants, whether they are subject to regulation or not;

7.  Calls for present or future assessments of chemical substances to be used in the development of legislation on air pollutants;

8.  Believes it is essential to draw up practical proposals to link the new programme to existing air quality measures;

9.  Stresses that one important task of the CAFE programme should be to establish harmonised reporting requirements for Member States' emission inventories in order to facilitate comparability of data;

10.  Notes the structural links between air quality related measures in different policy areas, especially the strong link between air quality and climate change measures, and therefore urges the Commission to co-ordinate its efforts in these two areas;

11.  Agrees with the Commission that CAFE needs to provide strong guidance for the development of sectoral, source-based measures to reduce emissions, and that effective structural links between CAFE and the sectoral strategies must therefore be established, since such links are essential in order to ensure that the necessary measures (whether technical or non-technical) are taken and that scenarios used within CAFE and other policy areas are consistent;

12.  Notes in this respect the Commission's proposals concerning the European programme on climate change and the emission rights exchange system; calls on Parliament and the Council, in the light of current levels of air pollution and the role played by the European Union in order to reach an agreement at the last Conference of parties to the Kyoto Protocol held in Bonn, to adopt ambitious, balanced legislation on the basis of these two proposals to enable the European Union to play the leading role which it has assumed in combating climate change;

13.  Shares the Commission's view that existing concentrations of particulate matter and ground-level ozone pose a serious threat to the environment, architectural heritage and public health, especially in large cities and for vulnerable population groups; therefore urges the Commission to take prompt action to propose policy measures aimed at reducing emissions of ozone precursors and particulate matter and its precursors, in particular those not covered by Council Directive 2001/81/EC;

14.  Stands by its efforts towards a sustainable transport policy and calls on the Commission, in the context of CAFE, to introduce for inland waterways and rail transport the agreements on emissions standards which have been reached with the motor industry; also calls on the Commission and the Member States to take a proactive stance in the relevant international fora, in order to set emissions standards for air transport in consultation with the aviation industry; considers that there should be a level playing field between the demands made on international aviation and the demands made on other industrial and transport sectors;

15.  Considers that sustainable transport cannot be achieved solely by adopting technical measures; notes the need for a change in the behaviour of both consumers and producers; recognises the urgent need to develop alternative fuels and means of transport in order to contribute to such a change of behaviour; calls on the Commission to promote the relevant research in the context of CAFE;

16.  Underlines the importance of strengthening links between research and policy making; however, is of the opinion that scientific uncertainty should not be used as an excuse for failure to take action against emissions that are likely to cause long-term damage;

17.  Considers it essential to set up a monitoring system to ensure that the programme operates effectively;

18.  Commends the Commission for fully involving the candidate countries in the CAFE programme and sees this participation as a prerequisite for a smooth integration of Community air quality legislation into the legislative bodies of candidate countries; notes that there was no funding for combating air pollution in the budget of the Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession (ISPA) for the year 2000; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the candidate countries to promote projects concerning the combating of air pollution so that the candidate countries can play their part in combating air pollution and in the "Clean Air for Europe" programme;

19.  Stresses the importance of broad consultation with relevant stakeholders in the process leading up to new policy proposals in order to further improve political credibility;

20.  Notes that there is an increasingly large overlap in both policy and geographical terms between the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and Community air quality policy; therefore shares the Commission's view that enhanced co-operation with CLRTAP is essential if CAFE is to add real value to policy-making and avoid wastage of resources;

21.  Shares the Commission's view on the need to increase transparency and bring Community policy closer to the citizens; therefore underlines that regular, accurate information on the progress and priorities of environmental policy is essential in order to increase public trust and involvement, as well as to allow the public to influence policy made in its name;

22.  Calls on the Commission to draw up clear, transparent rules for the participation of pressure groups; all participants must be able to take part without discrimination, with their respective financial resources being taken into account;

23.  Expresses some concern regarding the financing of the CAFE programme, especially concerning funding needed to ensure the participation and active involvement of candidate countries and NGOs in the programme and its working groups;

24.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that Parliament is kept informed of developments, for example by means of six-monthly progress reports, regular workshops etc.;

25.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, Commission and the Parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 296, 21.11.1996, p. 55.
(2) OJ L 337, 24.12.1994, p. 83.
(3) OJ L 309, 27.11.2001, p. 22.
(4) OJ L 257, 10.10.1996, p. 26.
(5) OJ L 85, 29.3.99, p. 1.
(6) OJ L...

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