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Billions for EU standards

Investments of Sk180 billion ($3.6 billion) in the environment are required to meet standards required by the European Union, Environment Minister Lászlo Miklós has said. The sum is 20% of current annual GDP.

Speaking after an informal meeting of EU candidate countries and the EC in Brussels, Miklós said the latest estimates indicate that the capital costs of meeting the Union's environmental standards will reach Sk180 billion by 2035 in Slovakia, while operational costs will reach Sk225 billion.

Jean-Francois Verstrynge, the European Commission's environment director, said Slovakia could close its environment chapter with the EU by December 11 with temporary delays in meeting requirements extended in seven areas.

Slovakia has asked especially that the EU's demand that each town over 2,000 people have a water purification facility, expected to make up the bulk of the Sk180 billion, be delayed until 2015.

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