Implementing EU environmental law in the new member states: the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive in the Czech Republic
Michael J. Baun and Dan Marek
Abstract: Implementing EU environmental legislation was viewed as a difficult task for new Central and Eastern European member states due to the technical complexity of EU environmental law and high financial costs of implementation. This article examines implementation of a particularly expensive piece of EU environmental legislation, the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD), in the Czech Republic and the country’s failure to meet the end of 2010 deadline for implementing the UWWTD. It concludes that while high fi nancial costs were indeed an obstacle to implementation, the main reason for failure to meet the deadline was not the lack of fi nancial resources — much of the needed money was available in the form of EU structural and cohesion funds — but the Czech Republic’s failure to meet EU legal and administrative standards which led to problems accessing EU funds. Thus, the explanation for implementation problems in this case has to do with both fi nancial costs and administrative (and political) incapacity.
Keywords: European Union (EU), new member states, Czech Republic, environmental law, Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD), structural and cohesion funds