Zero Pollution Action Plan (cepPolicyBrief COM2021_400)


The European Union wants to significantly reduce the pollution of air, water, soil and consumer goods by 2050. Pollutants should then be able to endanger neither human health nor the environment. The Centrum für Europäische Politik (cep) has analysed the so-called zero-pollutant target.


"Almost all areas of the national economy are affected. It does make sense to improve environmental protection and reduce distortions of competition by aligning different environmental standards," says cep environmental expert Svenja Schwind. The economist wrote the cepPolicyBrief with cep lawyer Götz Reichert.

But Brussels remains too vague in its announcements. The definitions are not precise and leave too much room for interpretation. "The Commission should differentiate more precisely between the goal of a 'toxic -free' and a 'low-pollution' environment," criticises the cep expert.

According to Götz Reichert, the planned simultaneous reduction of pollutants and greenhouse gases for production processes under the Industrial Emissions Directive leads to double regulation. "It can thus both reduce the efficiency of the measures and increase the administrative burden for companies," Reichert emphasises.

According to the Commission, the EU Action Plan is intended to strengthen the EU's green, digital and economic leadership. Already by 2030, this should avert hundreds of thousands of premature deaths within the EU, which are attributed annually to air pollution alone.