Greece criticised over EU water law

Advocate general advises European Court of Justice to condemn Greece over dangerous substances

Greece should be condemned for failing to implement an EU directive on water pollution that was passed over twenty years ago, an advisor to the European Court of Justice has said. The "opinion" delivered yesterday by advocate general Philippe Léger on a case brought by the European Commission is not binding, but is likely to be endorsed by the court. The 1976 dangerous substances in water directive sets emission limit values for a "black list" of 33 substances and requires reduction programmes to be drawn up for a "grey list" of 99 substances awaiting inclusion on the black list. The directive did not set a deadline for implementation of the directive, but Mr Léger said that an informal Commission letter to member states suggesting a deadline of 1981 was sufficiently binding as it had not been opposed at the time. The advocate general said Greece was wrong to have excluded certain regions from a pollution survey on the grounds that industrial processes there did not give rise to any of the 99 grey list substances, and supported the Commission's complaint that, for 72 of the substances, no reduction programmes were in place. The Commission last year launched legal action against Greece for a separate infringement of the same directive (ENDS Daily 15 December 1998).

Follow Up:
European Court of Justice, tel: +352 43031. References: The full text of the opinion, in French and Greek, can be found on the court's web site under "recent case law," case reference: C-384/97.

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