The European Court of Justice on Tuesday ordered Greece to pay financial penalties for failing to comply with a 2005 judgment, establishing its failure to fulfill obligations under the “Waste Directive.”
In addition to a lump sum of 10 million euros, the Court ordered Greece, until the 2005 judgment is complied with in full, to make a penalty payment, the actual amount of which will depend on the progress made by the country, but if there is no such progress, will be more than 14 million euros for every six-month period of delay.
Under the “Waste Directive,” member-states must ensure that waste is recovered or disposed of without endangering human life and harming the environment; they are also required to prohibit the abandonment, dumping or uncontrolled disposal of waste. Every waste holder must have it handled by an undertaking that takes care of its recovery or disposal in accordance with the directive. Each such undertaking must obtain a permit from the competent authority.
In a first judgment delivered in 2005, the Court declared that Greece had infringed the directive on the ground that by February 2004, 1,125 uncontrolled waste disposal sites remained in operation on the Greek territory and the closure of all illegal and uncontrolled landfills was not scheduled to take place until some time in 2008.
Compliance with the 2005 judgment requires: closure of illegal landfills, their actual cleanup (not merely the planning of their cleanup) and the creation of the necessary facilities for ensuring permanent compliance with the directive and the prevention of creation of new illegal landfills.
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