20 June 2019
Asthma , COPD, Allergy
- Air Quality, - Healthcare

The implementation of environmental legislation was also the main topic of this year’s EU Green Week, which took place in several cities across Europe between 13 and 17 May. EFA participated in three sessions.

The future EU environment priorities

One day after the publication of the 7th Environmental Action Programme, EFA attended a session on the evaluation findings & looking ahead to future environment priorities. The session was a World Café where participants could brainstorm on current citizen and planetary trends, to then propose actions to the European Commission.

It was interesting for EFA to attend to discuss with Commission officials and other stakeholders, and to share our thoughts and allergy, asthma and COPD priorities with all of them.

Having confirmed that the 2050 vision of the 7th EAP is still valid, participants including EFA sent 5 very strong messages to the future Commission on how we can live well, within the limits of our planet:


  1. Health and wellbeing for the planet and for all people is the frame and starting point.
  2. We need to shift to a sustainable economic model, including for the most polluting sectors. This requires extending the Circular Economy. Growth should increasingly derive from services that increase people’s wellbeing.
  3. Citizens’ involvement is key. Politicians need to tell good stories accessible to all generations, supporting frontrunners and engaging citizens in concrete actions such as planting trees.
  4. The SDGs provide an overarching framework to improve integration across policies, address lock-ins, e.g. in the food system, and ultimately improve implementation. Strengthened environmental proofing of all policies would be welcome.
  5. Modern and multilevel governance tools will ensure that all actors – citizens, businesses, cities, regions, Member States, the EU - are involved in the sustainability transition.

EFA looks forward to the remaining term of the EAP to address more efficiency the einforcement of outdoor air pollution, and we remain proactive to collaborate with the EU institutions in their responsivity to deliver action on better indoor air quality.

Environment and health, the main topics at EU Green Week

EFA also attended the discussion on ‘Environment and Health: Why Implementing Environmental Law Is Important’.

The session addressed the numerous environmental factors that affect human health, and how research can support regulators with science-driven data. The panel consisted of officials from the European Commission Directorate General on Research and Innovation (DG RTD), who stressed the policy-science interface.

Among others, Tuomo Karjalainen, Senior Expert at DG RTD, analysed the main determinants of environmental health and risk factors, including air pollution, occupational exposure, chemicals and food quality.

He referred to EU policies and actions to tackle environmental health, represented mostly through the Environmental Action Plans, the various EU-funded projects, and the policies adopted in different sectors such as the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution, and the Occupational Safety and Health.

Replying to a question from EFA regarding the progress made in the identification and labelling of allergens in food, John Bell, Director at DG RTD, highlighted the ongoing activities to bring together expert knowledge from across the EU and discuss a new framework that would protect consumers and patients from potentially dangerous food ingredients.

Cleaning the Air, Cutting Industrial Emissions

EFA also attended the session dedicated to ‘Cleaning the Air, Cutting Industrial Emissions’ and followed the discussions held by a heterogeneous panel consisting of representatives from the EU institutions, industry, civil society and EU regions and capitals.

From an EFA perspective, it was important to hear from the Commission’s Head of Unit on Clean Air, François Wakenhut that the Air Quality Directives Refit process is going according to plan. The Commission Refit report determining the way ahead is expected by the end of 2019.

More information on the 7th Environmental Action Programme can be found here

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Stay safe!
The EFA Team