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EU Commission warns Romania over landfill waste management

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Romania received a warning on Wednesday for failing to fully comply with the Landfill and Waste Framework Directives despite having already been fined by the European Court of Justice in December, according to Euractiv.

According to the Commission, Romania has successfully closed and rehabilitated 92 landfills and plans to address five more by 2026-2028. However, the situation for four others remains uncertain despite ambitious targets to send less than 10% of municipal solid waste generated to landfills by 2035.

Environment, Water and Forests Minister Mircea Fechet has stressed the urgency of closing or rehabilitating at least 31 hazardous and non-hazardous industrial waste sites to avoid EU fines. During a site visit to Sofert Bacău, a 16-hectare dangerous waste landfill in north-eastern Romania, Fechet highlighted the daily fines of €18,000 incurred by this site alone, which has been storing hazardous phosphogypsum industrial waste since communist times.

Today, a significant amount of recyclable material still ends up in landfills rather than in factories, while Romania is still unable to control waste imports, the minister said in an earlier statement.

On 14 December, the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) imposed a fine of €1.5 million on Romania, along with daily penalties of €600, for delays in closing non-compliant waste dumps.

The CJEU noted that the failure to fulfil obligations has lasted more than four years since 2018, described as “a considerable duration”. In addition, the CJEU pointed to “a significant risk of pollution and serious consequences for human health, in particular through the release of harmful chemicals into soil, air and water”.