Commission Takes Italy back to the Court and Proposes Fines

Waste Management

The European Commission is taking Italy back to the Court of Justice of the EU for its failure to fully and completely comply with the Court’s judgment of 2012. The Italian authorities have still to ensure that urban waste water is adequately collected and treated in 80 agglomerations across the country out of the 109 covered by the first judgment to prevent serious risks to human health and the environment.

On 19 July 2012, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled (case C-565/10) that the Italian authorities were violating EU law (Council Directive 91/271/EEC) by not adequately collecting and treating the urban waste water discharged by 109 agglomerations (towns, cities, settlements).

Four years later, this issueremains unaddressed in 80 agglomerations, covering more than six million people. These include areas in seven Italian regions: Abruzzo (one agglomeration), Calabria (13 agglomerations), Campania (seven agglomerations), Friuli-Venezia Giulia (two agglomerations), Liguria (three agglomerations), Puglia (three agglomerations), and Sicilia (51 agglomerations). The lack of adequate collection and treatment systems for these 80 agglomerations poses significant risks to human health, inland waters and the marine environment.

The Commission is calling on the Court of Justice of the EU to impose a lump sum payment of €62,699,421.40. The Commission is also proposing a daily penalty payment of €346,922.40 if full compliance is not achieved by the date when the Court issues its ruling. The final decision on the penalties rests with the Court of Justice of the EU.

Ensuring that all urban areas have waste water treatment facilities working properly can bring considerable benefits to EU citizens, as untreated water poses risks to human health and the environment.