3.000 illegal sites in Serbia: Environmental standards have to be improved

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Autofriedhof in Serbien (Foto: Scholz Holding GmbH)

Essingen — „It is time to close the 3.000 illegal sites in Serbia, if there should be a real chance for an access to the EU,“ said Oliver Scholz, CEO of Scholz Holding GmbH. The experts of Scholz Group doubt that there is any chance for Serbia to get access to the European Union if the environmental standards are not improved as soon as possible. These issues are discussed by representatives of the group with the German Embassy and the delegation of the German Industry in Belgrade.

Since Serbia got a new Government in 2012, the responsibility for the environmental sector was integrated in the Ministry of Agriculture. Afterwards the market and regulatory conditions in Serbia worsened. Declining local scrap market combined with the integration of Environmental Protection Ministry into the Ministry of Agriculture, a regulatory vacuum appeared which spurred entry of illegal competitors.

Right now there are estimated 3.000 small illegal scrap yards operating in metal scrap recycling industry, beside that more than 2.000 illegal dumping sites for waste existing. Typical for those sites is handling waste with high ecological risk, unsafely processing of scrap, no payed tax and no compliance with labor, safety and environmental regulation. At the same time, within major ports (e.g. at the Danube) that are used for exporting recycling material, metal scrap trading companies started their illegal operations. Great part of scrap trade in Serbia is done with cash, in the gray zone with significant tax evasion.

Different measures were proposed in the discussion with the German Embassy which should be supported by the EU:

  • Implementation and enforcement of waste management laws regarding EU standards especially the new EU waste framework directive,
  • Installation of an own ministry of environment or at least detailed responsibility for a task force within the Ministry of Agriculture or the Ministry of Economics,
  • Closing down of the illegal dumping sites and illegal operating companies in waste management.

Source: Scholz Holding GmbH