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Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania water quality to be improved

Significant funds still needed, say EU Auditors

12 September, 19:03
(ANSA) - BRUXELLES - The quality of drinking water available to consumers in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania "has improved in recent years thanks to EU funding, but a significant amount of money still needs to be invested" to meet the EU standards, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors.

The auditors examined EU action on drinking water quality in the three Member States. The audit covered the period from the Member States' accession to the end of 2016. Overall, they found that access and supply had improved but point out that a further joint effort by the three States and Brussels is needed.

The three countries analyzed face huge challenges with multiple issues. In particular, Romania has the lowest rate in access to drinking water, with just 62% of the population connected to the public water supply. While in Bulgaria water losses of 60% are very high compared to other EU countries, according to the audit.

Between 2007 and 2020, European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund support for the management and supply of drinking water in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania will total €3.7billion.

"Financial support from the EU budget to these water networks has been substantial, but it should not replace expenditure by the Member States," said Mr. George Pufan, responsible for the report. "Overall, these three countries will have to invest more than €6 billion by the end of 2020 to cover their needs."
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