Brussels, 28 October 2010
Environment: Commission urges Greece to comply with Court ruling on illegal landfills
The European Commission is urging Greece to implement a European Court of Justice ruling concerning illegal landfills. Despite being condemned by the Court in 2005 for not taking enough measures to close down and rehabilitate all existing illegal landfills, several hundred continue to operate across the country. At the recommendation of Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Environment, the Commission has decided to issue a complementary letter of formal notice under ongoing infringement proceedings. If the appropriate action is not taken by the Greek authorities, the Commission may decide to refer the case back to Court and request financial penalties.
The case concerns illegal landfills that continue to operate in Greece in violation of EU waste legislation. Since the Court ruling in 2005, 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 was sent in April 2009 reminding Greece of its obligations. However, according to the latest figures available to the Commission, some 316 illegal landfills continue to operate and 429 are still in the process of being rehabilitated. The Commission is therefore sending a complementary letter of formal notice. If the appropriate action is not taken by the Greek authorities, the Commission may decide to refer the case back to Court and request financial penalties.
Background: waste legislation
Directive 2006/12/EC on waste is a key instrument to protect human health and the environment from the negative effects caused by the collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of waste. The Directive obliges Member States to dispose of waste without endangering human health and without harming the environment.
For current statistics on infringements in general see: