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Brussels, 28 June 2011

Statement by Commissioner Potočnik on the waste situation in Campania

"I am closely following the situation regarding waste in Naples and the waste management situation generally in the Campania region. Looking at media images and reading reports, I am very concerned that so little, if any, progress has been achieved since 2007 when the European Commission was obliged 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 and which complies with EU waste legislation.

What has been happening recently shows that the Italian Authorities have not yet done what is needed in order to find an adequate and definitive solution to the problem

I am encouraged by the commitment that the new mayor of Naples is bringing towards resolving the problems of waste collection and the Commission is keen to cooperate with the Italian authorities in any way helpful to reaching a positive outcome for the inhabitants of Naples.

The Commission has been in close contact with the Italian authorities at various levels for many months, including a visit to Campania at the request of the authorities.

However, real improvements need to be seen and confirmed by citizens.  The absence of such improvements leaves the Commission with little choice but to actively pursue the infringement procedure. Unless the situation is reversed in due time, this could lead to financial sanctions being imposed on Italy by the European Court of Justice.

I would hope that Italian authorities at all levels take the matter in hand so that tax payers' money goes to improving the situation on the ground rather than to paying fines."

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