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Posted on: February 23rd, 2013 by AlYunaniya Staff No Comments

European Commission to take Greece to court over harmful waste

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photo: EU

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The European Commission is taking Greece back to the European Court of Justice for failing to implement an earlier ruling on illegal landfills.

In 2005, the Court ruled that Greece was not taking sufficient measures to close down and rehabilitate illegal landfills, of which there were several hundred operating across the country.

Eight years later, in view of insufficient progress since the ruling, the Commission is referring the case back to Court and, in line with established policy, suggesting a daily penalty payment of EUR 71,193 for each day after the second Court ruling until Greece complies with the judgment and a lump sum calculated on the basis of EUR 7,786 per day for the period between the first judgment and the day of compliance or the day of the second Court ruling.

Since the 2005 ruling, progress has been made by Greece through the closure and rehabilitation of many illegal landfills and the establishment of an adequate waste management system. The majority of these projects have been co-funded by the EU.

According to the initial calendar, all illegal landfills should have been closed and rehabilitated by the end of 2008. A letter of formal notice under article 260 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union was sent in April 2009, reminding Greece of its obligations.

However, according to the latest figures available to the Commission, some 78 illegal landfills continue to operate in violation of EU waste legislation and 318 are still in the process of being rehabilitated. The closure of illegal landfills is being delayed by the lack of alternative waste treatment facilities. The situation may become even worse since the Fyli landfill, which receives 90 % of the waste generated in the Athens region, is facing imminent saturation, and will have reached full capacity by the end of 2014. The Commission is therefore referring the case back to Court and requesting financial penalties. The financial penalties will be reduced every time landfills are closed and rehabilitated provided new ones are not created.

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