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European Commission - Press release

Waste management: Commission refers GREECE to the Court of Justice of the EU over illegal landfill

Brussels, 10 December 2015

Greece referred to Court over landfill on the island of Corfu.

The European Commission is referring Greece to the Court of Justice of the EU over poor waste management on the Greek island of Corfu. The Commission's concerns relate to the Temploni landfill which has been operating in breach of EU waste and landfill legislation (Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, and Council Directive 1999/31/EC) since at least 2007, and represents a serious risk for human health and the environment.In an effort to urge Greece to take the necessary measures in order to ensure the proper functioning of the Temploni landfill, the Commission is referring Greece to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Various on-site inspections by national authorities have revealed that the Temploni landfill is operating very poorly and in breach of EU legislation. The shortcomings include improper management of biogas, missing treatment of liquid draining from the landfill (leachates), and the presence of waste which the site is not permitted to treat. The European Commission expressed its concerns in a letter of formal notice in March 2011 and in a reasoned opinion in January 2012. Although the Greek authorities have recognised this issue and are trying to address it, the necessary measures have still not been taken and the landfill continues to operate in breach of EU waste legislation, constituting a serious threat to the environment.

 

Background

Under EU law, only safe and controlled landfill activities should be carried out in Europe. The Landfill Directive (Council Directive 1999/31/EC) lays down standards to protect human health and the environment from the negative effects caused by the collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of waste. It aims to prevent or reduce as far as possible negative effects of landfilling of waste over the whole life-cycle of landfills.

The EU Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC) sets the legal basis for waste treatment in the EU. It introduces waste management principles such as the 'polluter pays principle' and lays down a binding hierarchy for managing waste. It obliges Member States to take measures to ensure that waste management is carried out without endangering human health and without harming the environment. Waste is to be treated without risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals, without causing a nuisance through noise or odours, and without adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest.

 

For more information:

General information on infringements proceedings in the area of Environment.                

For details about EU waste legislation in general, see here.

For current statistics on infringements in the area of environment see here.

On the December 2015 infringement package decisions, please refer to the full MEMO/15/6223.

On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12.

On infringement procedures, see here.

IP/15/6224

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


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