Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, criticised this week’s official announcement by the European Commission of its working programme for 2015 on the grounds that it fails to move forward on important measures to protect the environment and public health as well as for failure to improve transparency.
Speaking in reaction to Commission President Juncker’s presentation, of next year’s work programme to the European Parliament, yesterday, Ms. Childers said:
“The new Commission leadership had previously signalled its intention to withdraw the EU’s Clean Air Policy Package. Now, in the face of opposition that has included some Member State governments, it announced a review without a precise date to introduce a new proposal over the coming year.
“This is simply unacceptable and flies in the face of the Commission’s own assessments, which point to air pollution as the first environmental cause of death in Europe, with an impact on overall health could amount to as much as 9% of the EUs GDP.
“Every year, according to the Commission’s own estimates, around 100 million work days are lost every year to air pollution, at a cost of about €15 billion productivity losses and €4 billion are spent treating pollution induced chronic bronchitis alone.
“I cannot understand why they are withdrawing a proposal that would bring much needed improvements to air quality in Europe and will keep pushing, along like-minded colleagues in Parliament, for a solid proposal to be brought back to the table as soon as possible.
“Likewise, the Commission is withholding an existing package to improve waste management, claiming it will come back with a better proposal within the next year.
“The Commission must now show us, at an unknown point in the new year, whether the avoidable delays for these proposals were worth it. The new Commission’s lack of commitment to this critical area does not bode well for the environment and our citizens’ health.
“I am also extremely disappointed at the new Commission’s failure to introduce a mandatory lobbying register. Its leadership had clearly promised this at its hearings in the European Parliament prior to the confirmation vote.
“Parliament, and the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, are on the same page on this issue. We should, at the very least, be able to know who is lobbying the European Institutions, how much money they are putting into it, and refuse access to those who won’t reveal it.