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European Commission - Press release

Waste: Commission refers Slovenia to the Court of Justice over illegal landfills

Brussels, 27 April 2017

The European Commission is taking Slovenia to Court of Justice of the EU for its failure to close and rehabilitate 28 illegal landfills which represent a serious risk for human health and the environment.

Despite earlier warnings from the Commission, Sloveniahas failed to take measures against 28 noncompliant landfills, as required by EU rules on landfilling (Landfill Directive, Council Directive 1999/31/EC). Under the Directive, Member States must recover and dispose of waste in a manner that does not endanger human health and the environment, prohibiting the abandonment, dumping or uncontrolled disposal of waste. Slovenia was obliged to close and rehabilitate these substandard municipal and industrial landfills by 16 July 2009.

Due to insufficient progress in addressing the issue, the Commission sent an additional reasoned opinionin April 2016, urging the authorities to adequately deal with 35 uncontrolledsites, which – although not in operation – still posed a threat to human health and the environment.

Some progress was made, but for 28 landfills the necessary measures – to clean them up and close them – had still not been completed by March 2017. In an effort to urge Slovenia to speed up the process, the Commission is bringing the Slovenian authorities before the Court of Justice of the EU.


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, in particular surfacewater, groundwater, soil and air, 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 oflandfilling of waste over the whole life-cycle of landfills.

Similar measures have been taken against 6 other Member States: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Romania and Slovakia. The Court has already issued judgements condemning Bulgaria, Cyprus andSpain.

There are many different ways of disposing of waste. Burying it in the ground, known as 'landfilling', is the least environmentally sustainable and should be kept to the absolute minimum.

For More Information

-  General information on infringements proceedings in the areas of Environment.

-  On the key decisions in the April 2017 infringements package, see full MEMO/17/1045.

-  On the general infringements procedure, see MEMO/12/12(an info graph).

-  On the EU infringements procedure.


Press contacts:

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

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