European COPD Coalition

Brussels, 16 July 2015 – Over 90ENVI% of city dwellers in Europe are exposed to air pollution levels which are harmful to health. Yesterday’s vote in the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee on the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive is an important step towards improving air quality and protecting public health in Europe. This report refused to exclude the agricultural sector from efforts to reduce air pollution. Farmers have to contribute to public health too.

Today, air pollution levels around Europe of fine particles (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide, sulphur oxides, and other pollutants far exceed World Health Organization recommendations. Poor air quality exacerbates incidence of allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease. The NEC directive could save a third of the over 400,000 premature deaths caused by air pollution and reduce health costs by hundreds of billions across Europe. [1].

The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), the European COPD Coalition (ECC) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS) welcome today’s vote, with the report adopted by a large majority.

Nina Renshaw, Secretary-General of EPHA aid, “This is a vital signal for public health. We call on all MEPs to support this report at Plenary in October. Improving air quality will save lives, prevent illness and ease suffering right across Europe.” [2][3][4]

For further information please contact:
Nina Renshaw, Secretary-General of the European Public Health Alliance, or +32 2 230 30 56.


Notes to editors

[1] Health related costs of air pollution are between €330 and €940 billion annually, between 3 and 9% of the EU’s total GDP

[2]COPD accounts for €4 billion of the direct cost of air pollution, not including economic loss due to decreased productivity.

[3]Health inequalities are particularly relevant because air pollution more severely effects those of low socio-economic status as do chronic diseases like COPD and cardiovascular disease.

[4]The amendments included the addition of mercury as one of the covered pollutants, and binding adherence to 2025 targets.

All logos clean air letterAhead of 15th July 2015 vote on Julie Girling’s report concerning the revised National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive, more than 60 health and environment non-governmental organisations (NGOs) sent the following letter to Members of the European Parliament, sitting in the ENVI committee.


Dear Members of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee,

On 15 July 2015, you will vote on Julie Girling’s report concerning the revised National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive. On behalf of a coalition of over sixty health, environmental and animal welfare organisations, we urge you to stand for ambitious EU action that will benefit people’s health, environment and the economy.

Every year, over 400,000 Europeans die prematurely because of air pollution. Bad air quality causes severe illnesses such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease, aggravation of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), harms to children’s healthy development and is a risk factor for diabetes. The health-related economic costs of air pollution are enormous, amounting to between €330 billion and €940 billion for the EU in the year 2010 alone. [1] This is equivalent to between 3 and 9% of the EU’s GDP. Air pollution also impacts Europe’s nature and biodiversity, agricultural yields and natural vegetation. Crop yield losses due to air pollution are estimated at €3 billion per year in 2010. [2]

More ambition is necessary, possible and cost-effective. The Commission’s proposal to revise the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive is very welcome but is far from sufficient to solve Europe’s air quality problems. The European Parliament’s impact assessment shows that the new EU climate and energy policy agreed by the Council in October would lead to significant air quality improvements for costs that are lower than in the initial Commission proposal. [3]

We therefore call upon you to support:

Air and health15 July 2015, the Health and Environment Committee Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)  will vote on the “Reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants and amending Directive 2003/35/EC” Rapporteur’s report. ECC is calling on MEPs to back a strong response to air pollution to ease the life of people living with COPD.

(Image: European Environment Agency)

This is an overview of the air quality package, for the readers of this website to better understand its importance on COPD.

 I.  Projected impacts and structure of the package

On 18 December 2013, the Commission launched a new policy package on air quality[1]. According to the impact assessment, the Air Package aims to have the following results by 2030: it will save 58,000 people from premature deaths, 123,000 km² of ecosystem, 56,000km² of protected areas and 19,000 km² of forest from acidification. This directive will save between €40-140 billion in healthcare costs and yield an extra €3 billion in economic productivity which is presently lost to absenteeism (the equivalent of 100,000 extra jobs)[2] [3].

Cover 2014 annual report shortECC is proud to share its 2014 annual report, presenting its activities throughout the year, in a context of European elections, and after some changes in ECC’s membership.

Readers will note the on-going communications with decision makers, including the new Members of European Parliament who were briefed about the importance of the disease, the staff of the European Commission who were asked to “challenge [their] lungs” on the occasion of World COPD Day in November – among other activities.

The report is here in low resolution, for a fast download.

ECDA header - 2015 final (1)Subject: EU Approach on Chronic Diseases

Dear President Juncker,

On behalf of the European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA), I am writing to you to express our deep concern about recent developments in policies that have an impact on chronic diseases in Europe.

At the European Alcohol and Health Forum (EAHF) meeting of 18 May, Commissioner Andriukaitis publicly stated that the European Commission has chosen not to present a new, dedicated, EU alcohol strategy despite numerous calls for such by Member States, the European Parliament and health stakeholders including ECDA . The Commissioner indicated that the European Commission is working instead on an ‘EU approach on chronic diseases’, which may include a segment on alcohol.

Whereas we certainly welcome a wide strategy on chronic diseases, (more…)