23 March 2022 | 7 minutes.

Romania lags far behind EU water standards

Abandoned water treatment plant.

Photo: Darkday, Flickr


Anda Sebesi
Vice President and Communication Director, CSR Nest Association

Anda Sebesi, Vice President and Communication Director, CSR Nest Association

The European Commission has given Romania the green light on over 28 billion euros in grants and loans through its national resilience plan, but the country has a large gap to close to meet EU water supply and sanitation standards.

Since joining the European Union back in 2007, Romania has made significant progress towards a modern economy. Most recent estimations by the European Commission show its GDP per capita has grown from around €2,000 in 2007 to €11,860 in 2021.

Yet, despite having attracted significant foreign direct investments (FDI) and billions in EU funding, Romania’s public infrastructure remains underdeveloped and in need of further major investment.

The country has also been lagging behind in terms of compliance with the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD) compared to its European peers, meaning it is crucial for authorities to improve water and sanitation access in rural areas. One reason for this has been that regional operators face barriers when it comes to absorbing investments and implementing projects in the sector.

Closely linked to these primary challenges are issues around the water and sanitation reform process in the country and affordability and efficiency. Finally, the impacts of climate change as well as the maintenance backlog of aging existing infrastructure compounds the water sector’s difficulties.

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