Further EU law infringement cases announced

Germany, Greece, UK, accused by Commission over waste, pollution, conservation, laws

The European Commission today announced a further batch of infringement proceedings against EU member states. The cases were decided at Commissioners' quarterly infringements meeting on Wednesday. Details of five actions were released, affecting Germany, Greece and the UK.

The actions include applications to the European Court of Justice in two cases concerning Greece and the UK. Neither appears likely to reach the stage of a court judgement, however, since the member states concerned have both indicated that moves are underway to rectify the situation.

Greece could face a trip to the court over alleged failure to properly implement the EU regulation on trade in endangered species. The decision follows a complaint that Greece did not have effective sanctions to prevent illegal trades, the Commission said. The EU executive said Greece had indicated that it was taking steps to introduce new legislation providing for sanctions, but said that it so far not received official notification.

A full court case against the UK looks even more unlikely, since the Commission has announced a three-month delay in making an application over alleged failure to properly transpose the 1980 EU groundwater directive. Controls on the disposal of sheep-dip pesticides, some of which are organophosphorus compounds, remain inadequate 16 years after the groundwater directive should have been transposed by all member states, the Commission said.

It announced a delay in making the application, however, due to information from the UK government that new regulations to comprehensively transpose the directive into UK law would be passed by the end of this month.

Two other infringement proceeding concern Germany, which is to be sent reasoned opinions, or final warnings, for failure to respect the 1979 wild birds directive and the 1993 waste shipment regulation.

Germany has still not classified enough "special protection areas" as required under the wild birds directive, despite an obligation to do so by 1981, the Commission said. A second action follows a complaint that several German states had blocked exports of waste for incineration in cement kilns by "wrongly invoking" a clause in the waste shipment regulation that allows member states to prohibit shipments of waste destined for disposal rather than recovery.

In a fifth action announced today, the Commission said it would send a formal notice, or first warning, to Greece for failure to protect the rare Mediterranean sea-turtle as required under the 1992 habitats directive.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 295 1111.

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