BRUSSELS, April 20 (UPI) -- European Union officials are hopeful countries set to join the organization next month will submit their emissions reductions plans on time.
The Financial Times reports EU environmental commissioner Margot Wallstrom said strong environmental efforts in the 10 countries are under way, but there still are shortcomings, particularly pertaining to air and water quality and waste management.
"I would hope that all of them will be able to deliver," Wallstrom told reporters.
European environmental groups have expressed concerned the entrance of the new member states -- most of them former Communist countries that have long depended on Soviet industrial and nuclear infrastructure -- will disrupt the prioritization of environmental issues in the political agenda of an enlarged EU.
Only five EU countries met the March 31 deadline for handing in their plans for cutting carbon dioxide emissions, required for the EU's emissions trading scheme and a critical step on the path to meeting Kyoto Protocol commitments.