Kouroupitos looms again

Greece could soon be forced once again to start paying a massive fine for each day an infamous rubbish dump continues to function uncontrolled on Crete, as European Commission officials reportedly believe the government has failed to honor its pledges to sanitize the Kouroupitos area. Sources in Brussels said yesterday that, following new complaints over the functioning of the western Cretan dump which serves the town of Hania, the Commission has initiated procedures to revive the 20,000-euro daily fine imposed on Greece in July 2000. The decision would probably have retroactive effect, as Greece stopped paying the fine in July 2001 after persuading Brussels that conditions at Kouroupitos would improve. Another outstanding problem similar to that of Kouroupitos is Greece’s failure to adequately protect the caretta-caretta loggerhead turtle nesting grounds on Zakynthos. Meanwhile, a Commission delegation is due in Athens on Friday to discuss 22 alleged breaches by Greece of EU environmental regulations – including complaints regarding Olympics-related works that are co-funded by the EU.

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