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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

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Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2003 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(98) 702 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(99) 510 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2000) 710 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1753 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1409 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2003) 676 final - SEC(2003) 1211 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2004) 657 final - SEC(2004) 1200 - Not published in the Official Journal

Commission Report [COM(2005) 534 final - SEC(2005) 1354 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 157 of 21.06.05]


In its Opinion of July 1997, the Commission expressed the view that Romania ought to give higher priority to environmental issues, implement focused environmental accession strategies and work programmes, significantly increase related financial and other resources and develop its administrative capacity in order to achieve conformity with the EU acquis. If such a strategy were followed, full transposition of the acquis could be achieved in the medium to long term. However, the Commission also considered that effective conformity with a number of pieces of legislation requiring a sustained, high level of investment and considerable administrative effort (e.g. urban waste water treatment, drinking water, aspects of waste management and air pollution legislation) could be achieved only in the very long term.

The November 1998 Report confirmed that Romania had made little progress in approximating its legislation, and that much remained to be done to comply with the short-term priorities of the Accession Partnership. Romania still faces very serious problems of air pollution, water management and waste management.

The October 1999 Report highlighted the fact that Romania had hardly advanced in its legal approximation efforts. Romania still lacked an overall environmental strategy that includes directive-specific cost assessments, implementation and financing plans. The Commission stressed that, in order to implement the Community acquis in the area of the environment, much stronger government commitment was required, as was a reinforced Ministry of the Environment and a significant increase in the resources devoted to environmental protection.

The November 2000 Report stated that Romania had reformed its environmental protection authorities at local level but that at national level its administrative capacity was still low. Romania had made little progress with strategies for transposing the acquis, although most of the sectoral approximation strategies had been finalised. An assessment had yet to be made of the cost of implementation of the main directives.

In its November 2001 Report, the Commission noted that progress had been made with ratification of international conventions, with formulation of action plans for alignment, and with adoption of the acquis. However, the level of transposition and implementation remained low. Financing strategies, implementation plans and stronger institutions were needed.

The October 2002 Report indicated that Romania had made progress with transposing the environmental acquis. However, much of the new legislation appeared to have been adopted without due consideration for the administrative and financial resources necessary for its implementation. Capacity to implement the legislation needed to be stepped up.

The November 2003 Report indicates that progress has been made with transposition. Although most of the environmental acquis has been transposed, administrative and financial resources allocated to the environment are inadequate. Additional efforts are required to implement the environmental legislation.

The October 2004 Report states that Romania has made good progress in aligning its legislation with the acquis, but that additional efforts are required to fully implement the legislation in key sectors such as air quality, waste management and water quality. Particular attention also needs to be given to implementation, especially establishing the necessary administrative structures and securing investment. Romania has provisionally closed negotiations on the environment chapter.

The October 2005 Report notes the high degree of alignment with the acquis achieved by Romania. It also stresses the need to continue efforts, particularly with regard to horizontal legislation, waste management, water quality industrial pollution and administrative capacity in general.

The Treaty of Accession was signed on 25 April 2005 and accession took place on 1 January 2007.


The Union's environmental policy, as set out in the Treaty on European Union, aims to achieve sustainability by including environmental protection in EU sectoral policies, preventive measures, the "polluter pays" principle, combating environmental pollution at source, and shared responsibility. The acquis comprises some 200 legal instruments covering a wide range of fields, including water and air pollution, the management of waste and chemicals, biotechnology, radiation protection and nature conservation. Member States must ensure that an environmental impact assessment is carried out before approving certain public and private-sector development projects.

The European Association Agreement stipulates that Romanian development policies must be guided by the principle of sustainable development and take full account of environmental considerations.

The White Paper on the preparation of the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe for integration into the internal market of the Union (1995) covers only a small part of the environmental acquis, namely product-related legislation, which is directly related to the free movement of goods.


No particular progress has been made on integration of the environment into other policies.

Progress has been registered in the field of horizontal legislation. Legislation has been adopted on procedures relating to environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental impact assessment. A communication procedure for public consultation has been established, together with a guide for implementation. The following international agreements have been ratified: the Aarhus Convention, the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context and the Kyoto Protocol. The transposition of Community rules on strategic environmental impact assessment and access to information still has to be completed. Additional training must also be provided in this field.

Concerning waste management, Romania has adopted legal acts on shipments of waste and technical norms on the use of sewage sludge in agriculture, but alignment with the acquis needs to continue, in particular as regards landfill of waste, packaging and packaging waste, shipments of waste, end of life vehicles and waste electrical and electronic equipment. The closure or reconstruction of existing landfills and the establishment of new sites continues. The Ministry of Environment and Water Management was designated as the competent authority for shipments of waste, but it is still necessary to strengthen administrative capacity at regional and municipal level and to ensure cooperation between authorities. Regional waste management plans need to be adopted.

In the field of water quality, the situation has improved. The acquis on urban waste water and on discharges of dangerous substances into surface waters has been transposed, although some further measures are necessary. The water law was amended in order to align with the water framework Directive and legislation on drinking water. Legislation was adopted on an integrated monitoring system for nitrate pollution and on the approval of programmes for monitoring pollutants from agricultural sources. Regulations were also adopted on the monitoring of water quality with regard to certain dangerous substances, and on hygiene norms for bottled water. Romania has taken steps to declare its entire territory a sensitive area for the purposes of urban waste water treatment. Action plans for agglomerations have been prepared, together with an assessment of the current waste water infrastructure. A methodology was developed for the designation of vulnerable zones that drain into waters affected by nitrate pollution.

On industrial pollution control and risk management, several pieces of implementing legislation were adopted, including on issuing integrated permits. The inventory of installations falling under integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) has been revised and an assessment of these installations has been performed. Continued efforts are, however, essential to ensure the issue of permits to installations covered by the IPPC Directive. A first exercise to compile a pollutant emissions register was completed. The Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents was also ratified in March 2003. Transposition still has to be completed, in particular with regard to incineration of waste, large combustion plants and volatile compounds due to the use of organic solvents.

With regard to nuclear safety and radiation protection, further progress was made with the publication of new norms, but work still remains to be done in particular with regard to the supervision of shipments of radioactive waste. An inventory of practices involving the risk of ionising radiation was drawn up. A database on licence applications and licences issued for shipments of radioactive materials was set up.

In the field of noise, some developments can be reported. An assessment of environmental noise was performed and relevant urban agglomerations, highways, railways and airports were identified..

With regard to nature protection, the bulk of the acquis has been transposed. Progress continues to be registered with regard to the preparation of the Natura 2000 network, and in the transposition of legal acts in this field. Sites of Community interest and special protection areas are being identified with the assistance of, among others, non-governmental organisations. More efforts are required in relation to awareness raising and encouraging the participation of stakeholders in implementation. Administrative capacity needs to be enhanced. Romania has made little progress in the field of chemicals and genetically modified organisms. Legislation was adopted on ozone-depleting substances and on approving the updated national programme for phasing them out. Romania ratified the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol in March 2003. Rules relating to biocides need to be completed.

As regards air quality, Romanian legislation conforming to the acquis is now in place, in particular through the adoption in recent years of implementing legislation on sulphur content of liquid fuels, designation of inspection bodies, volatile organic compound emissions, and conditions for placing gasoline and diesel fuels on the market. Zones for air quality assessment and management were defined. A preliminary assessment of air was carried out and an air quality monitoring network for agglomerations designed. Procedures for drawing up and implementing air quality management plans and programmes were published and a national strategy and action plan for atmosphere protection approved. However, action plans and monitoring systems still have to be prepared and implemented, and transposition of Community rules on emissions from non-road mobile machinery needs to be completed.

Romania is a member of the European Environment Agency.

As regards administrative capacity, major institutional changes affected the environment sector in the past year. After the merger with the Agriculture Ministry in June 2003, the Ministry of Environment and Water Management was re-created as a separate Ministry in March 2004. The national environmental protection agency and eight regional environmental protection agencies were established and staffing started in spring 2004. Recruitment of further staff in these administrative bodies is ongoing; likewise in the 34 local environmental protection agencies. Efforts must, however, continue to improve capacity at regional and local level. Moreover, there should be more coordination between the authorities responsible for the environment.

No progress has been made with regard to medium- and long-term investments to implement the acquis. The report states that considerable investments need to be secured, including in the medium term, to ensure implementation of the environment acquis.

Cooperation with non-governmental organisations has improved. However, work still has to be done to ensure public participation in both the development and the implementation of environmental policy.

Negotiations between Romania and the European Union on the environment chapter have been provisionally closed. Transitional arrangements, lasting from between 1 to 12 years, have been granted for the implementation of the acquis in sectors such as urban waste water treatment, drinking water, emissions of volatile organic compounds by certain installations and waste processing.

Last updated: 13.12.2005