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European Commission - Press release

Environment: Commission urges Hungary to comply with extractive mining waste rules

Brussels, 27 October 2011 – The European Commission is asking Hungary to bring its national legislation in line with European norms on extractive mining waste. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion and asking Hungary to comply within two months. If it fails to do so, the Commission may refer the cases to the EU Court of Justice.

The extractive mining waste Directive aims to prevent and reduce the effects of mining waste on the environment and human health. According to the Directive, an extractive waste facility needs to have an operational permit, and facilities presenting a potential risk for public health or for the environment have to draft an internal and an external emergency plan to prevent major accidents, and a waste management plan.

While many provisions of the Directive have been transposed correctly into Hungarian law, the Commission identified several shortcomings in a letter of formal notice sent to Hungary in March 2010. Since then, most of these have been resolved but some crucial shortcomings still remain regarding the Directive's definitions of 'treatment' and 'extractive industries'. This limits the Directive's scope of application, hindering its full implementation. Although the Hungarian authorities have agreed to adopt the necessary amendments, the changes have not been forthcoming. The Commission is therefore sending a reasoned opinion.


The extractive mining waste Directive provides for measures, procedures and guidance to prevent and reduce the effects of the extractive waste management on the environment and human health.

Currently there are open infringement proceedings against 9 Member States for non-compliance with the Directive. Three of these, Hungary, Latvia and Poland (see IP/11/594 and IP/11/1275) have reached the stage of reasoned opinion. The other Member States have been sent letters of formal notice.

Further information:

For current statistics on infringements in general:

More details on EU extractive waste policy:

See also:

More details on EU waste policy:


Contacts :

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)

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