Souflias passes on blame for landfills

Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias blamed the previous Socialist government and municipal authorities yesterday for an EU decision to take Greece to court over illegal landfills, while also hinting that two other ministries shared responsibility for the problem. The European Commission said on Tuesday that it will take Greece to court for its failure to make safe two garbage dumps in Crete and to find ways of disposing hazardous waste other than at illegal landfills. Souflias said that the EU’s decision to open up Greece’s file was based on inspections conducted in 2003, before the ruling New Democracy party took power. «This decision is the consequence of the indifference shown by the PASOK government,» Souflias said. In a final warning letter sent to Greece in April this year, the EU said that it felt the government was endangering human health and the environment by not clearing the defunct Kouroupitos landfill site near Hania and the temporary waste storage site at Mesomouri which replaced it. The environment minister indicated that there was foot-dragging by Economy an Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos over finding a solution to the problem which could result in steep fines. Souflias said that in September 2005 he informed a Cabinet meeting about the problem as he also presented an action plan on the issue that required the support of other ministries.