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Four major environmental projects in Hungary and Romania have been approved, along with 10 transport projects, said Nico Keppens, spokesperson for the Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-accession (ISPA) on 25 July. ISPA is a financial instrument used to ready candidate countries’ integration with the EU economy and laws by 2006.

ISPA will provide almost 75% of the 153 million euros (£94 million) towards the cost of the four projects, most of which will be swallowed up by a massive sewerage and wastewater treatment rehabilitation programme for Romania’s second city, Constanta. Other approved projects are: a waste management system at Piatra Neamt in Romania, the introduction of selective waste collection and a solid waste management system for Hajdu-Bihar in Hungary and the upgrading of a sewage treatment plant in Gyor, Hungary.

A total of 80 environmental and transport projects are in the pipeline for the year 2000. According to IPSA, the 10 EU applicant countries of Central and Eastern Europe face great environmental problems, particularly with regard to water pollution, waste management and air pollution. Major efforts are needed if these countries are to catch up with EU nations in time for entry to the community.

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