Will the EU's action help against air pollution?

The EU is taking Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Hungary an Romania to court for exceeding the EU limits on nitrous gases and fine particles. Some commentators are glad to see the EU resorting to legal measures against six states to force them to improve the air quality. Others take the view that this is the wrong approach.

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

German government finally under pressure

Finally the German government is being forced to make a move, writes the Frankfurter Rundschau in delight:

“Up to now all the chancellors and transport ministers have been more concerned about the interests of the automotive industry than the health of the people who have to inhale this filth every day. So in that respect it's good that there is now a procedure in this area that has been taken out of the German government's control. ... There is no longer any reason for the German government to try to buy time when it comes to air quality. The government should give up its resistance to technical upgrades for polluting diesel vehicles. That would be a first step. A second would be the introduction of a blue sticker for cars that really meet the emissions standards. The third would be a convincing strategy for promoting electromobility. In Germany and all Europe.”

Le Parisien (FR) /

Talks about successful projects, not sanctions

Sanctions are never a solution, Le Parisien writes:

“When it comes to environmental protection, why can't we focus on successful projects and about what has been achieved in recent years? Because the fact is that little by little environmentally friendly ideas have come home to roost, and fantastic projects have seen the light of day. ... But things will not really start happening until those who are really ready to change their ways are given the means to do so. For example, those who would gladly exchange their car for a cleaner vehicles but can't afford to do so must be assisted. Environmental protection can be a source of enthusiasm. But it must never be moralising - or punitive.”