The Czech Republic to fall behind the implementation schedule given in the Council Directive concerning urban waste-water treatment

Press Release – June 9, 2009

From June 2008 to February 2009, auditors from the Supreme Audit Office performed an audit that aimed at investment ventures developed in the field of waste-water treatment within the period from 2004 to 2008 and their formal correctness and accuracy. The auditors focused on the administration of European Union funds and the implementation of corrective measures, which had been taken on the basis of the previous audit.

The objective of the Council Directive 91/271/EEC is to protect the environment from the adverse effects of urban waste water discharges and discharges from certain industrial sectors and concerns the collection, treatment and discharge of domestic waste water, mixture of waste water, and waste water from certain industrial sectors. The Czech Republic signed to implement the Directive before accessing to the EU and the Directive should be implemented by December 31, 2010.

Auditors from the SAO controlled the Directive’s implementation already in 2006, while auditing financial resources spent on construction and technical reinvestment of water and environmental buildings within the competence of the Ministry of Agriculture (auditing operation No. 06/31). They commented upon the fact that many projects’ realization had been postponed to the period from 2008 to 2010. This time, auditors aimed at financial support of the implementation and examined the possible defaults. A few water building projects were audited too.

“There are 314 agglomerations that have not met the conditions yet, 50 of them (including Prague) have not succeeded to prepare the necessary documents. It is clear that the implementation will not be accomplished by the end of 2010 because the preparation and realization stages usually last for certain periods. The Directive terms are not extendable, as they were inhered in the Treaty of Accession“, said president of the SAO František Dohnal.

As European Commission had not clearly defined some basic terms, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment developed their own strategy, which may not be suitable for the Commission and there are doubts that the Commission would decrease the allotment from the EU funds. The presumable costs of the implementation within the period from 2007 to 2010 make CZK 49 milliard, with over CZK 33 milliard allotted from the EU funds (67.5 %) and CZK 10 milliard shared by the investors’ capital and reserves.

According to the financing strategy from 2007, the water building projects would draw almost CZK 24 milliard from Operational Programme Environment. The Ministry of Environment made an analysis, which concluded that the allotment from the EU funds would shorten by some CZK 8.5 milliard, because of the deals, which had been closed between the infrastructure’s owner and the administrator and designated by the EU as violations of the best practice principles. Several projects financed from the Cohesion Fund from 2004 to 2006 did not meet the Best Practise objectives. In case there are no alterations, the allotment from the EU funds would decrease by 20 % and the Czech Republic’s concerns in co-financing of the projects would have to rise.

The auditing operation was included into the 2008 Audit Plan of the SAO under No. 08/22. Rudolf Němeček, Member of the SAO Board, controlled the operation and prepared the audit conclusion as well.

Radka Burketová
Press Speaker
Supreme Audit Office

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