Romania to take the infringement test
Romania has three months to catch up with the things it should have done in the past five years as far as the integrated waste management is concerned and to comply with EU standards.This week, the authorities in Bucharest will take their first exam regarding the delays in compliance to European standards in Romania.
The first that will have to deal with the officials in Brussels is the Environment Minister, Nicolae Nemirschi.
He became minister four months ago and he will have to find explanations for the severe delays of our country regarding the cesspits closure and the opening of ecological modern deposits in accordance to the European Union standards.
In 2004, during the negotiations regarding the Accession Treaty, the officials in Bucharest have signed an engagement with those in Brussels saying that by 2009 all the dissentious cesspits would be closed and our country would have only ecological waste collection points.
Romania can even access EU funds for these investments: 1.1 billion euros have been available through the Environment Sectorial Operational Program. Europeans have set a deadline on the 16th of July 2009. Otherwise, they will start the infringement proceedings (the infringement of the Accession Treaty) against Romania and start penalizations against our country that will mean amounts starting from 200,000 euros a day until the remedy of the situation. Also, the dissentious cesspits will be closed and the waste will be stored in the few ecological deposits available at that time. This will involve the transport of waste at longer distances and hence the increase in the local sanitation taxes.
FINES FOR THE GUILTY LOCAL AUTHORITIES
According to the Environment Minister, Nicolae Nemirschi, Romania will fail to meet these promises in 70% of the cases. Until now, only 10 cesspits were closed and only 20 ecological deposits are ready at this moment (they should have been 65).
In 2008, Romania submitted the documentation for a single deposit from Bistrita. 30 more projects are to be submitted this year. They worth a total of 200 million euros. Nemirschi said in November that he would ask for more time to comply with the European Commission requests, but it is unlikely that Romania will get that. The minister said that he would transfer the fines from the EC to the local authorities who have not met the expectations.
Translated by Sorin Bălan