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Brussels, 14 May 2009

Port reception facilities to prevent maritime pollution: Commission sends reasoned opinion to Italy

The European Commission decided today to address a reasoned opinion to the Italian authorities for their failure to comply with a judgement of the European Court of Justice. The sentence relates to EU legislation on the approval and implementation of reception and handling plans for ship-generated waste and cargo residues.

The European Court of Justice judgement of 25 September 2008[1] declared that Italy had failed to adequately implement a Directive[2] adopted in 2000.

The Directive aims at reducing the discharges of ship-generated waste and cargo residues into the sea from ships using ports in the Community. It calls for improved availability and use of port facilities designed to receive and treat such waste and residues, thereby enhancing the protection of the maritime environment. One of its key provisions concerns the establishment, approval and implementation of ship-generated waste reception and handling plans for each port.

Whilst the Directive was to be implemented by 27 December 2002, at the time of the Court's decision in 2008, a very significant number of Italian ports still did not have a reception and handling plan for ship waste. Despite recent efforts by the Italian authorities, the situation remains essentially the same. The Commission has given Italy a last opportunity to correct the situation before resorting to the European Court of Justice again to impose financial penalties on Italy for non-implementation of its previous judgement.

[1] Case C-368/07, Commision v. Italy.
[2] Directive 2000/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2000 on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues (OJ L 332, 28.12.2000, p. 81).

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