EU commissioner: Estonian air getting cleaner

  • 2000-10-26
  • Aleksei Gynter
TALLINN - European Union Environmental Commissioner Margot Wallstrom acknowledges that Estonia has advanced in bringing its environmental regulations in conformity with EU instructions.

Wallstrom held a meeting with environmental organizations Oct. 20, and said she was satisfied with its results. "Our talks were constructive. The EU is ready to help [to fund] Estonia," she said. Wallstrom also met with Prime Minister Mart Laar, Environment Minister Heiki Kranich and Finance Minister Siim Kallas.

The commissioner said the rest of Europe has something to learn from Estonia concerning environment.

Estonia is planning to adopt EU environmental laws in 2003, although it is not ready to meet European requirements in areas like waste water of residential areas, waste dumps, drinking and ground water, nitrates and volatile organic substances.

Wallstrom emphasized that waste water treatment and industrial pollution are the major problems in Estonia. However, she also admitted something has changed for the better. "Air quality has significantly improved," said Wallstrom.

Complete realization of EU environmental norms and legislation in Estonia requires about 27 billion kroons ($1.46 billion) and will take 13 years, according to PR service of Estonian Environment Ministry.

Wallstrom had previously held high governmental posts in Sweden, and became the European environment commissioner in September 1999. Estonia is the first EU applicant Wallstrom has visited.