EU states warned over habitats, cooperation

European Commission to send reasoned opinions to Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland

The European Commission is to send final warnings of possible court action to four EU countries for failing to respect common environmental rules, the EU executive announced on Friday.

The Portuguese and Spanish governments are to be sent reasoned opinions for failing to propose sufficient sites to become part of the Natura 2000 network of protected habitats. Under the 1992 habitats directive, full lists should have been submitted by all countries by June 1995, the Commission noted.

In a separate push to ensure full compliance with EU environmental laws, the Commission said it had decided to send reasoned opinions to Ireland and Italy for failure to cooperate with investigations into possible breaches. The action follows announcement of first warnings to the two countries last November (ENDS Daily 2 November 1999).

Italy is charged with failing to assist the Commission in its attempt to decide whether there have been breaches of the framework waste directive, the groundwater directive and the habitats directive at an industrial landfill in the Sondrio region as well as several other specific cases. The action against Ireland concerns several projects affecting Dublin Bay which might damage a special protection area registered under the EU wild birds directive.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111. See Commission press releases on the warnings to Portugal and Spain (IP/00/737) and Italy and Ireland (IP/00/741) on Rapid.

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