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EU Commission tells Romania to fix its waste, water, and air-quality problems

Romania has failed to meet its obligations as an EU member and needs to address the problems surrounding its waste, water, and air pollution; otherwise, the European Commission will be forced to start infringement proceedings.

The Commission is calling on Romania to close, seal, and ecologically restore 15 illegal landfills that benefitted from a transitional period that ended in July 2019. According to the information received by the EU Commission, 101 landfills had to be closed by this date, but only 86 have been closed and rehabilitated. The Commission has therefore sent a letter of formal notice to Romania, which now has two months to respond to the letter; otherwise, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion.

The Commission decided to send an additional letter of formal notice to Romania for its failure to comply with EU rules on urban wastewater treatment in large urban areas. According to the latest data provided by the Romanian authorities, 188 large agglomerations still do not conform to the urban wastewater collection obligations under EU law, while 192 do not comply with secondary treatment obligations and 193 have failed to comply with the strictest treatment. Romania now has two months to respond to the letter, or the Commission may decide to also issue a reasoned opinion regarding these cases.

But it’s not just waste management and water treatment that are the problem; there is also the matter of air pollution in Romania that has entered the spotlight. The EU Directive requires member states to implement a National Air Pollution Control Programme to achieve levels of air quality that do not give rise to significant negative impacts on and risks to human health and the environment. As Romania has failed to adopt such a program, the EU Commission has reminded authorities that they have two months to take appropriate action; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the European Union Court of Justice.

Title image: Pixabay

Author: István Fekete