European commissioner frustrated with Greece over illegal dumps

European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn expressed his frustration with Greek authorities for failing to comply with regulations governing the management of solid waste while on the fourth leg of a 13-region tour of Greece aimed at helping local authorities make better use of EU regional funds.

“It is apparently a huge problem because we have been discussing it for decades, not only for years but for many years and it is still in my view not yet properly solved because we have still a lot of illegal landfills,” Hahn said on Monday in Corfu.

Hahn met with Ionian Regional Governor Spyridon Spyrou during his visit to the Ionian island, as well as with representatives of all local authorities, chambers of commerce and business associations.

His tour included a stop at the Temploni landfill, which is one of dozens across Greece that has yet to fully comply with European waste management standards.

The European commissioner warned that “there will be fines because Greece has repeatedly not respected any deadlines.”

He added that areas such as the Ionian islands that depend on tourism should be more motivated to fix the problem.

Greece has repeatedly been rapped by European authorities for allowing the operation of illegal dumps, and especially in environmentally sensitive areas.

According to recent estimates by the Commission, some 78 illegal landfills continue to operate in violation of EU waste legislation in Greece and 318 are still in the process of being rehabilitated.

Hahn on Tuesday was visiting Epirus.

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