Greece is top of EU court list

As residents of Ano Liosia, the site of Attica’s only legal landfill, protested yesterday about plans to create an allegedly illegal dump close to their homes, research by Sunday’s Kathimerini revealed that Greece has been hauled before the European Court, often for environmental offenses, more regularly than any other member state. Figures show that since joining the EU (then European Economic Community) in 1981, Greece has been referred to the European Court of Justice 265 times. Although Italy (498 cases) and France (332) have had to stand trial more times, their records stretch back to 1957, when they joined the EEC. Greece still has 80 outstanding cases, 13 of which are considered serious offenses; seven of those concern infringements of EU environmental law. In the summer of 2000, Greece became the first member state to be fined by the court for persistently ignoring EU legislation by operating the Kouroupitos dump in Crete. According to Brussels, there are 1,458 illegal landfills operating in Greece, used by almost half the population. One of the issues for which Greece has been referred to the European Court is the failure to create a more advanced sewage treatment plant on the islet of Psyttaleia, near Piraeus. Meanwhile, residents of Ano Liosia, under a heavy police presence, closed off one of the main roads leading to the landfill as part of ongoing protests at the government’s decision to dump hundreds of tons of sewage there. Locals are also angry at plans for local authorities in neighboring Fyli to auction off some 3 hectares of land bordering the Ano Liosia dump to act as a temporary landfill. They have labeled the move «illegal.» They have planned a series of protests this week, including a march to the dump on Wednesday evening and culminating in a march on the Maximos Mansion on Thursday.

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