Prospective EU member countries from central and eastern Europe (CEE) will have to double their annual spending on air pollution prevention to achieve full compliance with EU emissions standards by 2010, a new study by the European Environment Agency (EEA) concludes. Made available this week, the computer-modelled analysis finds that the total cost of abating all sources of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions will have to rise to euros 7.5bn annually if the block of ten countries is to meet the standards. This is double the projected annual costs of emissions control at that time if current national emissions standards were to be maintained, according to the report, which is the EU's first attempt to quantify total air quality compliance costs for the CEE countries. The model predicts that meeting the EU standards would mean cutting total SO2 emissions by over 70% and NOx emissions by 58%. Compliance with NOx targets will cost three times more than SO2 reductions due to an expected "doubling or tripling" in such emissions from transport sources by 2010, the report says. Five "first-wave" accession countries are currently formulating detailed proposals on compliance timetables, prior to negotiations on EU entry expected to begin later this year. All countries must implement EU emissions standards and none has asked for a transition period longer than a decade.
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