End in sight for landmark Greek waste fine

Landfill closure set to end EU's first penalty for legal compliance failures at nearly euros 4.8m

A landmark series of financial penalties imposed by the European Court of Justice on Greece for persistent operation of an illegal landfill are finally set to end, it emerged in Brussels today. The total bill will nevertheless reach nearly euros 4.8m, since it has taken 238 days for the Greek government to fully respond to last year's unprecedented 4 July court judgement (ENDS Daily 4 July 2000).

The news was revealed in the European Parliament environment committee by a European Commission official. The Greek government had informed the Commission by letter of 8 March that Kouroupitos was closed on 26 February, he said. The government had also confirmed creation of a formal waste management plan for Crete's Chania district, in which Kouroupitos is situated.

All waste that was going to Kouroupitos is now being handled at a nearby provisional compression and storage plant, a Commission official subsequently told ENDS Daily. Meanwhile, two permanent waste installations are being planned, one a landfill designed in compliance with EU rules and the second a composting and recycling plant.

Formal closure of the infringement case will not happen before next week at the earliest, when the Commission will make a full assessment of the situation after meeting with Greek officials.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111.

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