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European Cities take EU Commission to Court over 'License to Pollute' Diesel Regulations

Mayors of Paris, Brussels, and Madrid fight for cleaner air for their citizens. Barcelona has not yet joined the plaintiffs.
May 15, 2018, 2pm PDT | PabloValerio | @pabl0valerio
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The scene on the street in Brussels.
Roman Yanushevsky

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will hear arguments this week to determine whether three European cities can challenge vehicle emissions regulations set by the European Commission and agreed by national governments.

The cities of Paris, Brussels, and Madrid are seeking to bring a joint Action to the General Court of the European Union for the annulment of Regulation n° 2016/646 of the European Commission.

The absence of Barcelona, which faces high levels of NOx emissions and particulate matter, is significant. The fact that Seat, one of Volkswagen’s subsidiaries, is located just a few kilometers outside the city could be the reason city officials have refrained from legal action.

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