Summary: The report concentrates on two major challenges facing municipalities in the central and eastern European countries: how to meet the strict requirements of EU accession, and how to deal with the rising waste burden.The report was prepared within the framework of the European Commission LOGON II project. In the last two decades, significant progress has been made in the field of waste management in the existing 15 EU member states. Today, policy innovations, coupled with new and improved technologies provide a better spread of options to decision makers. Networks of best practice and organisations with mandates to build capacity at the local level support the development of integrated waste management strategies throughout the EU. Unfortunately, many of these advances have not yet taken root in the 12 EU acession candidate countries. The information presented in this report provides a mixed view of waste management in the EU accession candidates. There are great differences between and often even within candidate countries. There are some recurring deficiencies that are common to all 12 countries to one extent or another. The most striking problem is the failure to communicate. Local authorities rarely communicate with each other, have poor internal co-ordination between municipal departments, and have insufficient systems of consultation with local stakeholder groups. These problems, if left unchecked, will seriously undermine the efforts to implement and enforce environmental legislation. Efficient waste management comes at a cost and this cost is presently too large for most municipalities in the central and eastern European countries. The provisions contained within waste legislation (especially those relating to taxes and charges) do not adequately cover the cost of providing quality waste management. Moreover, despite the influx of foreign aid and investment, most notably from the European Union, the bulk of this money remains tied up at the central level. The result is that too little money filters down
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