European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella announced that air pollution in Bulgaria decreased after the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) came out with a decision that the country should do more in the fight against it.

“I can confirm that, after the decision against Bulgaria, we are already seeing an improvement”, Vella said during a joint conference with the Minister of Environment and Water, Neno Dimov.

In April 2017, CJEU in Luxembourg condemned our country for the permanently poor quality of air in Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna, as well as in Northern, Southwest and Southeast Bulgaria. The conviction of the European Court only founds the infringement without imposing sanctions on our country.

Bulgaria is not the only country that falls into Brussels’s point of view on this issue. The EC is conducting a criminal procedure against Germany due to air quality and in response the German authorities consider introducing а free public transport in their most polluted towns.

This measure is being discussed as a means to reduce the travel by private cars, as Germany is threatened with sanctions from Brussels for not doing enough to reduce harmful emissions of nitrogen dioxide. Vella threatened to file a case at the CJEU, if EC is not satisfied with Berlin’s proposals.

Minister Dimov leads a meeting in the EU Council in Brussels as part of the programme of the Bulgarian Presidency.

During the discussions, ministers talked about how to limit the negative impact of both plastics and plastic micro particles and hazardous chemicals on the environment. They also discussed how to increase the use of recycled plastic and to safely process waste containing hazardous substances. The carbon standards for new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles were also commented.

Given that one of the environmental priorities of Bulgaria is good law-making and the implementation of legislation, the debate was focused on the link between better lawmaking and real improvements, such as the one pointed by Commissioner Vella.