The European Commission is expected to take action against member states that breach EU air quality laws when it adopts its monthly infringement package.
EU air pollution limits are currently being breached by at least 130 cities in 23 countries, exposing citizens to emissions that are damaging to the most vulnerable in society: children and the elderly.
The European Environmental Bureau’s (EEB) air pollution policy officer, Margherita Tolotto, said: “Where national governments are failing in their duty to protect their citizens, it’s right that the commission steps in. European air quality protections are key EU achievements and the commission must ensure that people all over Europe can benefit from them.
“Launching and pursuing infringement proceedings against the worst offenders sends a clear signal that crucial EU laws must be respected.”
In February, the commission launched the first stage of proceedings against France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, a move welcomed by the EEB at the time.
Further action in relation to these cases, or entirely new infringement proceedings, are expected following the Clean Air Forum in Paris in November.
The mayors of Paris and other major European cities have taken strong stances on air pollution.
However, action at local and European level is yet to be sufficiently matched by national governments, which have been criticised for watering down European air quality rules.