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Brussels, 23 October 2010

Statement by Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Environment, on the waste situation in Campania, Italy

The European Commission is closely monitoring the waste management situation in Campania. It notes that the current situation is very close to the crisis which exploded in 2007, and which led the European Commission to open an infringement procedure against the Italian Republic.

The European Court of Justice found on 4 March 2010 that Italy was in breach of EU legislation for having failed to set up in Campania a network of installations which is sufficient to ensure the disposal of urban waste in a manner which does not endanger human health and the environment.

European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "I am very worried by what has been happening in Campania in recent days. The Commission is still reviewing information it received in early October from the Italian authorities, but today's situation leads us to believe that measures taken by Italian authorities since 2007 are insufficient."

What has been happening in the last days shows that the Italian Authorities have not yet done what is needed in order to find an adequate and definitive solution to the problem. This is shown by the fact that the Campania Region still has no waste management plan and that the Acerra incinerator, the only one existing in Campania, is not functioning properly and at full capacity. This means that in Campania the Authorities are neither able to carry out a programme to dispose of the old baled waste, nor to manage the new daily waste production.

The present situation has not changed compared to when the Commission decided to block EU funding.

The European Commission will also consider sending a delegation to Campania so as to gather first-hand information on the situation and to decide what further steps should be taken in the pending infringement procedure. Should the European Commission refer the case back to the European Court of Justice, and should the Court judge against Italy a second time, this will entail the imposition of fines against the Italian Republic.

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