The European Commission said on March 19 that it sent Romania a final warning about a breach of EU laws regarding environmental impact assessments.
The warning stemmed from the construction of a major formaldehyde production plant in 2007, without a permit and before any impact assessment having been made. Romanian authorities initially ordered the demolition of the plant, but the order was later rescinded by a local court.
"The Commission is not aware of any sanction being applied to the operator. A failure to act on this second warning could see Romania brought before the European Court of Justice," the EC said in a statement.
European environment commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Legislation on its own is never enough: it must be able to be applied 'on the ground'. Romania must ensure that impact assessments are carried out in cases like these, and that they respect any rulings that follow."
The EC said that no appropriate measures to sanction the operator and to ensure that EU legislation was effectively being applied had been taken. Romania was thus in breach of several EU directives, including the environmental impact and the Seveso Directive on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances.
The Commission issued a first warning in October 2009, which Romania replied to in November.
"The Commission is not satisfied with the reply, which does little to remove doubts about the breach of the relevant legislation, and has decided to issue a second warning, the final step before a summons before the European Court of Justice," the Commission statement said.
If Romania fails to comply with the second warning and the case is referred to the European Court of Justice, the court can impose heavy fines on the country.