The European Commission warned eight countries on Friday, Romania included, regarding their constant failure to improve the air quality, according to a communiqué from the European executive. Letters have been sent to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, with warnings addressing the exceeding PM 10 emissions.

France got an additional letter, referring to its incapacity to control the sulphur dioxide emissions

According to the EU legislation, several targets needed to be met by 2005, namely a certain annual concentration (40 μg/mc) and a certain daily concentration (50 μg/mc), which cannot be exceeded for more than 35 times during a calendar year.

Environment commissioner Stavros Dimas declared: "The pollution with suspended particles shows grave consequences for the human health and strict standards are necessary. These standards need to be enforced to protect all the EU citizens, and therefore I request the eight member states to repair these deviations and to improve the citizens' protection as soon as possible. The human health is top priority. No delay can be tolerated."

The suspended particles can be found in the polluting emissions generated by industry, transports and house heating. They can cause asthma, cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary cancer and premature death.

The commission can take the EU member states to the European Court of Justice if they fail to respect their engagements.

According to the treaty, the Commission has the competence to take legal measures against a member state that does not respect a European Court of justice decision and it can request the Court to impose financial sanction on the state disrespecting its environmental duties.