Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, highlighted serious omissions and U-turns in the European Commission’s work programme for this year, further to a vote held this morning in the European Parliament on this subject.
Speaking from Strasbourg, today, Ms. Childers said:
“The Commission’s announced intention to withdraw air quality legislation proposals is absolutely unacceptable. Air pollution is responsible for 400.000 premature deaths every year and takes a toll of tens of billions of Euros in health-related costs.
“In 2013, in Ireland alone, poor air quality claimed around 3400 lives prematurely. This particularly affects children, the elderly and those suffering from related air conditions, and many in the Irish medical community are rightly alarmed at the Commission’s equivocating and dilly-dallying on the National Emissions Ceilings proposals.
“Furthermore the Commission must not shelve the waste management proposals that the previous executive had already presented to Parliament and the EU countries’ governments.
These proposals were to improve the recycling and re-use of a range of materials, which would help us save raw materials and resources, and reduce some production costs, while also creating more jobs in the sector.
“It is quite striking to see business associations, local authorities, green NGOs and other civil society groups standing together in opposition to the withdrawal of a green legislative proposal, even though the Commission hinted that some other alternative would be tabled further down the line.
“We also have unfinished business in the 7th Environmental Action Programme, which the Commission again seems set against pursuing, at the expense of human health. The lack of a strategy on endocrine disrupters is a case in point.
“Beyond these environmental concerns, I am simply dismayed at the Commissions’ eagerness to withdraw the proposed Maternity Leave Directive and simple but very important measures to our citizens’ daily lives, such as proposed scheme to supply fruit, vegetables and milk to schools.
“This is all being done in the name of cutting red and so called “green” tape, as if no regulation in these areas meant better regulation. However, the Commission has failed to explain how these gaps are supposed to help our economy grow.
“Unfortunately, Parliament’s progressive groups failed to come together to pass an alternative to the rubberstamping statement from Fine Gael’s European People’s Party today. I voted in favour of the alternative, progressive resolutions put forward but, regrettably, none secured a majority to pass.”