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Slovakia is facing lawsuit for insufficient air quality protection

18. 02. 2021 Ovzdušie

The European Commission is bringing an action against Slovakia to the European Court of Justice for exceeding the limit value for particulate matter and for failing to take appropriate measures to improve air quality.


Although the frequency of exceeding the PM10 limit value expressed as the average daily concentration in Slovakia decreased significantly in 2019 as well as in 2020, and in 2020 compliance with the PM10 limit value was achieved at all monitoring stations (except Jelšava), the appeal assesses air pollution in Slovakia in previous years as well.

Slovakia has not complied with the daily limit values for PM10, which have been legally binding since 2005. The data provided to the European Commission confirm the systematic exceedance of the daily limit values for PM10 in the air quality zone Banskobystrický kraj in 2005 - 2019 (except 2016) and in the agglomeration Košice in 2005 - 2019 (except 2015 and 2016).

The European Commission is suing 18 EU Member States for breaches of the Ambient Air Quality Directive. Ten of these cases have been referred to the EU Court of Justice, which has already delivered a legal verdict in five cases. This is mainly the concentration of PM10 dust particles expressed as a daily average.

"Air quality is like litmus paper, which reflects the environmental condition of a country. We can get used to polluted air, but this silent killer is also a sign of premature death. It is not usually written in the death certificate, but in Slovakia people die as a result of polluted air in the form of various lung diseases, heart diseases or cancer. We are reaping the fruits of ignorance against air protection from the era of the governments of R. Fico and P. Pellegrini. We must now take much more drastic steps to improve air quality in Slovakia and to ensure that the standards for the permissible level of air pollution are no longer exceeded, "said Minister Budaj about the situation.

The Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic is already acting in this direction:

  • Preparation of a new law on air protection, the aim of which is extensive changes reflecting the measures resulting from the government's program statement. The draft of the new law will create new, more demanding requirements for state administration, self-government bodies, as well as for operators of pollution sources.
  • Change in charges for air pollution that have not been increased for more than 20 years. Once changed, they will become an effective economic tool against air pollutants.
  • Implementation of the LIFE IP – Air Quality Improvement project (2020 - 2027), which is supported by the European Union within the LIFE program, thanks to which a national network of air quality managers (AQMs) operating in the regions was established in Slovakia. AQMs have the task of cooperating with the state administration and self-government bodies in the management of air quality, they are engaged in monitoring activities, awareness raising activities and education of the public, especially in the field of proper heating and sustainable mobility. The project is one of the measures taken to improve air quality in Slovakia and is a direct response to the call of the European Commission.
  • Based on SHMI analyzes, the largest sources of air pollution in Slovakia are large industrial sources of pollution and domestic sources of pollution. Here, the ministry recommends focusing some of the projects of the Recovery and Resilience Plan.

"The challenges facing air protection go beyond the scope of the Ministry of the Environment, and for this reason I will mobilize the support of other ministries as well as local governments. We need a new political and social acceptance to clean the air over Slovakia, and I am convinced that we will achieve it, "says Minister Ján Budaj.