A major formaldehyde production plant was built in Romania in 2007 without a permit and before any impact assessment had been made. Romanian authorities initially ordered the demolition of the plant, but the order was subsequently rescinded by a local court.

The Commission points out it is not aware of any sanction being applied to the operator.

In this case, Romania was in breach of several environmental major pieces of EU legislation, including the Environmental Impact Directive and the Seveso Directive, which is intended to prevent major accident hazards involving dangerous substances.

“A failure to act on this second warning could see Romania brought before the European Court of Justice”, the European Commission said.

A first written warning was sent in October 2009, with Romania replying in November. The Commission was not satisfied with the reply, which did little to remove doubts about the breach of the relevant legislation.

"Legislation on its own is never enough: it must be able to be applied 'on the ground. Romania must ensure that impact assessments are carried out in cases like these, and that they respect any rulings that follow,” Janez Potočnik, European Environment Commissioner said.