EC begins infringement procedure against Romania for failing to meet waste recycling targets
The European Commission (EC) said on November 16 that it decided to initiate infringement procedures against Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Austria for failing to meet legally binding targets for recycling municipal waste for reuse.
The targets are set by Directive 2008/98/EC and amended by Directive 2018/851/EU. The EC also requires member states to improve their waste management systems and resource use efficiency.
The deadline for transposing the provisions of the Directive into national law by member states expired on July 5, 2020, according to News.ro.
Through its monthly package of infringement decisions, the European Commission seeks to take Member States that have not fulfilled their obligations under EU law to court. These decisions, which concern various sectors and policy areas of the EU, aim to ensure the proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.
Deficiencies in Romanian legislation are related to the end-of-waste status, extended producer responsibility, derogation from the financial responsibility-sharing model, and measures established to prevent waste generation.
At the same time, the European Commission is urging Romania and 11 other member states to comply with EU legislation regarding air pollution and to reduce emissions of various pollutants to address air pollution.
The European executive notified three member states - Luxembourg, Poland, and Romania - and sent a reasoned opinion to nine member states - Bulgaria, Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Austria, Portugal, and Sweden - for failing to fulfill their obligations to ensure the correct implementation of their commitments to reduce several air pollutants, as provided in Directive (EU) 2016/2284 on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants ("NEC Directive").
The NEC Directive establishes national commitments to reduce emissions for five important air pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ammonia (NH3), and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), as stated in the press release of the European Commission. These pollutants contribute to poor air quality, significantly impacting human health and the environment.
National commitments must be met by each member state annually between 2020 and 2029, with more ambitious reductions expected starting in 2030, according to News.ro.
Member states also have the obligation to establish national air pollution control programs (NAPCP) to demonstrate how these reduction commitments will be achieved.
In January 2023, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to 14 member states that did not meet their emission reduction commitments for the year 2020 for one or more pollutants covered by the NEC Directive. In February 2023, member states provided the latest national emission inventory, including emissions for 2020 and 2021, accompanied by an informative inventory report.
The European Commission analyzed the latest inventories and concluded that Bulgaria, Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Austria, Portugal, and Sweden still did not meet their emission reduction commitments. The Commission also concluded that Poland and Luxembourg did not meet their commitments regarding pollutants not yet included in the letter of formal notice sent in January 2023.
(Photo source: Linda Williams | Dreamstime.com)