The National Emission Ceilings Directive is one of the instruments to reduce emissions in the European Union. It is directed against the acidification and eutrophication of vulnarable ecosystems in Europe and aims to reduce the affected area in Europe by 30% in 2010 when compared with the situation in 1990. The ceilings therefore include SO2, NOx, VOC and NH3.

The NEC Directive regulates the ceilings in the EU15 for the year 2010 and details the respective obligations of the Member States. Among these are the development of plans in which the allocation of the emissions reductions to the different economical sectors in a country are given and the various reporting obligations on the actual emissions and the progress with the reductions in respect of the relevant timeframe. The ceiling values are summarised in the table.

 National Emission Ceilings for SO2, NOx, VOC and NH3 to be attained in 2010

CountrySO2kilotonnesNOxkilotonnesVOC kilotonnesNH3kilotonnes
Austria         39       103       159        66
Belgium         99       176       139        74
Denmark         55       127         85        69
Finland       110       170       130        31
France       375       810     1050       780
Germany       520     1051       995       550
Greece       523       344       261         73
Ireland        42         65         55       116
Italy      475       990     1159       419
Luxemburg          4         11           9           7
Netherlands        50       260       185       128
Portugal       160       250       180         90
Spain       746       847       662       353
Sweden         67       148       241         57
UK       585     1167     1200       297
EU15     3850     6519     6510     3110

A revision of the NEC Directive is presently (2008) being negotiated and is meant to establish NEC values for the year 2020; it should be in force from 2011.