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Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

a clear message has been handed out to east and central European countries wishing to join the European Union ( eu ) : clean up first. With concern for the environment in the forefront, eu deli-vered its missive quietly yet forcefully, at the recent environment ministers meeting in Brussels on conditions for those wanting to join the 15-nation eu . Said a eu official, "The message here was: environment is not something you can forget about. We are saying you have to take this seriously, and now is the time."

Behind this 'become-green policy' is the new eu environment commissioner, the Danish politician, Ritt Bjerregaard. Undertaking several trips to Central European countries, she was taken aback to see that caring for ecology was not a primary concern there. Now, these countries -- Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania among others -- will have to incorporate more than 200 eu eco-directives into their national laws.

Lax rules in these countries has allowed companies to pollute the environment by releasing wastes in air and water that are much more than the specified international standards.

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