Greece Threatened With 70,000-Euro Daily Fine Over Illegal Landfills

February 21, 2013Greeceby EW News Desk Team

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The European Union’s legislative body, the European Commission (EC), has warned Greece to shut down several hundred illegal waste dumps across the country, or face daily fines of up to 71,193-euros ($93,925) until they do so, reported Kathimerini News on Thursday.

According to a statement by the EC, Greece had failed to live up to a 2005 ruling to protect the environment, while the government also ignored a letter of formal notice in April 2009 reminding it of its obligations.

“In 2005, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Greece was not taking sufficient measures to close down and rehabilitate illegal landfills,” the Commission said in a statement.

“Eight years later, in view of insufficient progress since the ruling, the Commission is referring the case back to Court and, in line with established policy, suggesting a daily penalty payment of 71193 euros for each day after the second Court ruling until Greece complies with the judgment,” the commission added.

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Some 78 Greek landfills are believed to be in violation of EU waste legislation, while 318 others require rehabilitation. The EC noted that the delay had been caused by a lack of alternative waste treatment facilities, warning that a number of the landfills, including one close to the capital of Athens, could reach full capacity by 2014.

Meanwhile two other EU states could also face legal action over similar environmental concerns. The EC is taking Sweden back to court for its failure to license industrial installations that are operating without permits, while Poland will be referred to the ECJ for not complying with regulations on nitrates and water pollution.

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If found guilty, Sweden could be fined up to 14,912-euros per day, while Poland is likely to face a final reprimand.

According to the Commission, environmental infringements represented 29 percent of all infringement cases concerning Sweden in 2012 (up from 15 percent in 2011).

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