The EU Commission is scolding Emmanuel Macron’s government over its failure to ensure more than 100 cities and towns properly collect their wastewater. The country should have been complying with EU laws on wastewater since 2005, more than 10 years before Mr Macron took office.
But the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to the French authorities in October 2017 followed by a reasoned opinion in May 2020.
However, France is yet to adhere to the legislation.
The Commission said: “Although the French authorities have shared monitoring data aimed at showing compliance with the requirements of the Directive for some of the agglomerations initially identified, the deficiencies and gaps remaining therein lead the Commission to conclude that the authorities have failed to prove compliance for the above-mentioned agglomerations.”
The same fate is being reserved for Viktor Organ’s Hungary.
The Commission found 22 towns and cities with a population of more than 2,000 people in the central-European country in breach of the Directive.
A letter of formal notice was sent to Hungarian authorities in February 2017, followed by a reasoned opinion in December 2017.
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Although some progress had been made, Cyprus was, however, still failing to ensure that in 31 agglomerations all wastewaters are collected or that urban wastewater entering collecting systems is subject to appropriate treatment before being discharged.
As full compliance was in some cases not expected by the Cypriot authorities before 2027, the Commission decided to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.
This is also not the first time Mr Macron has found his government referred to the top EU court.
In October 2020, the Commission sued France over its failure to protect citizens against poor air quality.
The Commission said that France had not respected the daily limit values for particulate matter — microscopic particles that are mainly present in emissions from industry, traffic and home heating — in the zones of Paris and Martinique in most years since 2005, when the rules became legally binding.
And in 2019, the top EU court found that France had “persistently” exceeded limit values for concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in 12 air quality zones.