Greece to pay a 35,000 daily fine on poor waste water treatment

19 November 2015
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The Court of Justice of the EU ruled in 2004 that Greece was violating EU law by not adequately collecting and treating waste water discharged into the Gulf of Elefsina. Eleven years later, Greece has not managed to adequately address this problem.

The lack of adequate treatment systems in the area of Thriasio Pedio poses risks to human health, to inland waters and the marine environment.

The Commission is asking the Court of Justice of the EU to impose a lump sum from the date of the first judgment until the Member State has rectified the infringement or in the absence of compliance until the date of the second judgment, based on a daily amount multiplied by the number of days the infringement persists, leading, up to now, to a sum of EUR 15,943,620.

The Commission is also proposing a daily fine of EUR 34,974, which would be paid from the date of the Court ruling until Greece fully complies with EU law. These penalties, proposed by the Commission under the Lisbon Treaty, take into account the seriousness of the infringement, its duration, and the deterrent effect reflecting the ability to pay of the Member State. The final decision on the penalties rests with the Court.

Despite some progress, only 28 % of the urban waste water is collected and treated before being discharged into the Gulf of Elefsina. The collection rate has almost not improved since July 2012 when the waste water treatment facility started operating.

In view of this continued infringement, and in the absence of any indication as to when this will come to an end, the Commission has decided to refer the case back to the Court of Justice of the EU.

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