[Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the reduction of national emissions of certain pollutants and amending Directive 2003/35/EC]

I very much welcome the provisional agreement between the Council and European Parliament on the Commission's proposal for a revision of the National Emissions Ceiling Directive - an important instrument to improve air quality and reduce cross-border pollution.

Air pollution is the number-one environmental cause of death in the EU, leading to over 400,000 premature deaths each year. The agreement reached today will cut those impacts by half over the coming years. It will also deliver direct savings to the economy from fewer lost working days and lower health-care costs and stimulate investments in new technologies and green growth.

The negotiations were difficult and complex, but the institutions came together in a spirit of compromise. With this agreement, the EU has acted decisively on an issue of crucial importance to our citizens.

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