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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 4 June 2013

Environment: Green Week opens in Brussels

Europe's largest environment conference kicks off today under the banner “Cleaner Air for All”. This year's edition of Green Week is dedicated to air, and will see some 3000 participants gather for three days to discuss air-related issues. Stakeholders, NGOs, government representatives and EU officials will search for solutions to air pollution, like how to safeguard air quality against the backdrop of rising industrial and energy production, the rise in road traffic and urbanisation, the burning of fossil fuels, and climate change. All sessions are streamed live on the internet.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Air pollution is often invisible, but its effects are very real. When air quality is poor we pay a heavy price: citizens' lives are lost, medical costs are high, and working days are lost to illness. Green Week provides an important platform where policymakers, representatives from local communities and NGOs, public authorities and businesses can exchange ideas on how improve the air we breathe – we are constantly open to suggestions on how to improve our current legislation."

Organisations and companies will showcase best practices at a 40-stand exhibition, and numerous side events include an outside exhibition of alternative fuel vehicles and test drives of electric cars. The week also features the Best LIFE Nature and Best LIFE Environment award ceremony.

Commissioner Potočnik has declared 2013 as the Year of Air, and over the course of the year the Commission's current air policy is being reviewed, with a focus on finding ways to improve the quality of the air we breathe. Despite good progress in recent years, several air quality standards are still widely exceeded in the EU's most densely populated areas, especially from pollutants such as particulate matter, ground-level ozone, and nitrogen dioxide.

In the autumn, the review will deliver a revised strategy for EU Air Policy, including new or confirmed objectives for 2020 and beyond, together with a list of key initiatives and instruments to reach them.

Background

The 13th edition of Green Week, the biggest annual conference on European environment policy, will take place from 4 to 7 June 2013 at the Egg, Street Bara 175 in Brussels. Key speakers include:

• Janez Potočnik, EU Commissioner for Environment

• Marcin Korolec, Minister of the Environment, Republic of Poland

• Satu Hassi, MEP

• Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEP & President of GLOBE.EU

• Catherine Stihler, MEP & Member of Committee on Internal Market & Consumer Protection (IMCO)

• Bas Eickhout, MEP

• Cor Lamers, Mayor of Schiedam (NL) & Member of the CoR

• Maurizio Conte, Regional Minister for Environment, Regione Veneto (IT)

• Assumpta Ferran i Poca, Director-General for Environmental Quality, Ministry for Territory & Sustainability, Catalunya (ES)

• Per Ankersjo, Vice Mayor for Urban Environment, City of Stockholm

• Martha Delgado Peralta, ICLEI Vice President & Former Secretary of Environment for Mexico City

• Ugo Cappellacci, President of the Region of Sardenia

• Giuseppe Bortone, Director-General Environment & Soil Protection, Regione Emilia-Romagna (IT)

• Claudia Terzi, Regional Minister for Environment, Energy & Sustainable Development, Lombardia (IT)

• Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director, EEA

• Simon Upton, Environment Director, OECD

• Arab Hoballah, Chief, Sustainable Consumption & Production, UNEP

• Johan Kuylenstierna, Executive Director, Stockholm Environment Institute

For more information:

To view the Green Week 2013 programme and follow the sessions live, see: http://greenweek2013.eu

For more on EU air policy see: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)


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