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The EU and international air pollution policy

Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution

In the international context, the EU Member States engaged together with Central and Eastern European countries, the United States and Canada to control international air pollution under the Gothenburg Protocol to the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. The original protocol was agreed in November 1999 and formed the basis for the original NEC Directive 2001/81/EC. The protocol was revised in 2012 and the reduction commitments established for 2020 for the EU and its Member States have been transposed into EU law by the new Directive on National Emission Reductions (Directive 2016/2284/EU). The Clean Air Policy Package included a proposal for Council ratification of the amended protocol which should proceed for adoption now that the new Directive is in force.

The EU continues to work closely with the Convention to encourage ratification and implementation of the revised Protocol by the broadest range of parties, and to pursue further work on key areas such as Black Carbon and intercontinental transport of air pollution.

Underlying assumptions for the preparation of the Commission proposal

The Impact Assessment for the original Commission proposal for a new NEC Directive is available on the Clean Air Policy Package webpage.  Following bilateral consultations with Member States during the negotiations, the Commission's consultants IIASA updated the Impact Assessment analysis in the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution Report number 16 ('TSAP 16', available on the NEC Directive review webpage.

Article 14.3(a) of the Directive requires the Commission to publish the underlying assumptions considered for each Member State for the definition of their national emission reduction potential used to prepare TSAP 16.

In fulfilment of that obligation, a pivot table presenting the assumptions used for the three so-called 'WPE2014' scenarios used to prepare TSAP 16 will be soon available on this page.  The three key scenarios are the current legislation scenario (CLE), the maximum technically feasible reduction scenario (MTFR) and the optimised scenario which identified the cost-effective reduction potential for each Member State in order to achieve a 52% reduction in the health impacts of air pollution (OPT).

Note that the pivot table documents the numbers for the base year 2005 and the target year 2030. The reduction commitments for 2020 were determined by the Union's international obligations, in the form of the reduction commitments agreed to in the revised Gothenburg Protocol, and no separate analysis was done for them.