Budapest Sun
Euro-commissioner's emergency visit to region

Feb. 24, 2000

On an emergency visit to the region to address the tragic destruction of the Tisza and other rivers by cyanide poisoning, Margot Wallstrom, EC commissioner for the environment, said the accident should not affect negotiations with countries seeking to join the European Union, but rather pointed up the need for improvement in EU legislation.

At an evening meeting with environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Budapest on February 17, the commissioner said work had begun to create an emergency task force to deal with the situation.

She said that the European Commission was currently looking into means of funding efforts to control and help reverse the damage caused by the massive cyanide leak that wiped out the ecosystems of hundreds of kilometers of river and killed tonnes of fish.

"We have to learn a lesson from what has happened here. And the lesson is that there are gaps within EU legislation." Wallstrom said. "I donít see that this accident will affect the enlargement process in a negative way."

Wallstrom, who had already put in a full day conferring with the environment ministers of Romania and Hungary and visited the banks of the Tisza, said she would "make sure that, in this task force, there are NGOs." she said.

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