Italy condemned over EU waste law

European court supports European Commission complaint arising from illegal waste landfill

The Italian government has been condemned by the European Court of Justice for failing to comply with the EU's 1975 framework waste directive. In a judgement delivered today, the court backed a European Commission infringement action first launched in 1990 over an illegal waste landfill close to the southern city of Naples. Earlier this year, a court advocate general (advisor) recommended Italy be condemned, describing the valley of San Rocco as little more than an "open sewer" (ENDS Daily 22 April). Whereas the advocate general recommended Italy be condemned on just one of four specific complaints made by the Commission, the full court has backed the EU executive on two counts. On the first, the court followed its advisor's opinion in agreeing with the Commission that Italy had breached article 8 of the framework waste directive (75/442), as amended by directive 91/156, by failing to ensure that wastes had been delivered to a private or public waste management enterprise. However, the court has also ruled that Italy breached article 4 of the directive, against the advice of the advocate general. The article requires EU member states to take the necessary measures to ensure that wastes are treated without causing dangers to human health or risks for the environment.

Follow Up:
European Court of Justice, tel: +352 43031. References: The full text of the judgement is posted on the court's web site, case number C-365/97.

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