Insights from the European Committee of the Regions and the EU Urban Agenda

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is the voice of regions and cities in the European Union (EU). It represents local and regional authorities across the European Union and advises on new laws that have an impact on regions and cities (70% of all EU legislation). The CoR works to bring EU citizens closer to the EU. By involving regional and local representatives who are in daily contact with their electorate's concerns, but also by inviting citizens to participate in various events and debates, the CoR contributes to reducing the gap between the EU institutions' work and EU citizens.

Bold actions required

Cities are poles of attraction for many citizens.  To make them greener and healthier and address challenges related to air pollution, targeted policies and bold actions are required. The European Committee of the Regions believes in coordinated action between all levels of governance. Innovation and creativity rooted in cities can provide solutions to accelerate the green transition through targeted investments in sustainable mobility and urban greening. Building on partnerships and knowledge sharing between cities and on a participatory approach, the Urban Agenda for the EU, is an excellent tool. It inspires urban policies and ensures EU legislation and funding address the needs of the cities of tomorrow.

Kieran McCarthy

(Independent Councillor Cork City)

The future of EU Clean Air Policy in the framework of the zero-pollution ambition

The COVID-19 outbreak has increased the need to strengthen the links between environment and health policies. Air pollution is the greatest environmental health risk in the EU. The EU Zero Pollution Ambition, in the framework of the Green Deal, needs to be an integral part of a green recovery strategy that leaves no community behind. Local and Regional communities have a fundamental role in making the Zero Pollution Ambition a reality on the ground. We need to link the action at EU level with the action in our communities.

The EU needs to more closely align air quality standards to the WHO guidelines, which are currently being revised. Taking into account the high number of Member States that do not meet current standards, it is appropriate to provide for further assistance for implementation where necessary and appropriate and strictly monitored compliance timeframes.

Ádám Karácsony

(Elderman of Tahitótfalu in Hungary and Rapporteur of the European Committee of the Regions for

the opinion on "The future of EU Clean Air Policy in the framework of the zero-pollution ambition)

Silvia Moroni

PhD (Environmental Engineer AMAT (City of Milan) - Senior Expert and Project Manager Partnership on Air Quality of EU Urban Agenda - Actions Leader)

EU Urban Agenda an Air Quality Planning experiences in Milan (Italy)

Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region and the most populated city in Northern Italy, has presented to citizens its first voluntary City Air Quality and Climate Plan in order to protect health and increase quality of life of residential population and daily city users (in total more than 2 million peoples) exposed to levels of air pollutants still not in compliance with EU legislation, enforcing the continuous improvements related to local emissions, such as vehicular traffic limitations (i.e. ‘Area C’ Ltz and Congestion charge, ‘Area B’ Low Emission Zone), energy efficiency promotion and structured thermic plants control campaigns. City of Milan take part in the Partnership on Air Quality of the Urban Agenda for the EU - together with other 5 European cities, 4 Members States, EUROCITIES and HEAL - with an active role on ‘Better Air Quality Planning (Governance)’ and ‘Better Targeted Funding for Air Quality’ agenda actions, coordinating the work for publishing on the Futurium website ( the ‘Code of Good Practices for Cities Air Quality Plans’ and ‘Financing Air Quality Plans. Guidance for cities and local authorities’ together with the European Investment Bank (EIB). This experience was fundamental to include in the Milan AQ and Climate Plan all the best practices such as an integrated approach and use of dedicated tools for Health Impact Assessment and a Business Model for Funding.