The quality of drinking water available to consumers in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania has improved in recent years thanks to EU funding, but a significant amount of money still needs to be invested, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors.
The auditors examined EU action on drinking water quality in the three Member States. The audit covered the period from the Member States’ accession to the end of 2016. Overall, they found that access and supply had improved – largely due to significant EU investment in recent years.
Between 2007 and 2020, European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund support for the management and supply of drinking water in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania will total €3.7 billion.
However, the auditors point out that there are still areas where water from the public network does not fully comply with the 1998 EU Drinking Water Directive. In addition, significant further national public and private investment will be needed to provide access to good quality water for everyone in these Member States and to ensure that EU-funded investments can be adequately maintained.
“Financial support from the EU budget to these water networks has been substantial, but it should not replace expenditure by the Member States,” said Mr George Pufan, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “Overall, these three countries will have to invest more than €6 billion by the end of 2020 to cover their needs.”