Greece again ordered to pay millions in penalties by ECJ


Due to its failure to properly manage its hazardous waste, Greece has been sentenced by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to pay a fine of €10m in addition to a financial penalty of €30,000 per day until it has reached full compliance with EU legislation.

In first infringement proceedings in September 2009, the ECJ had already found that the Greek government had not met its obligation under EU law in the management of hazardous waste. Since the country had in the meantime still failed to adopt the measures necessary to comply with this judgment, the European Commission launched a second case against Greece at the ECJ at the end of 2014.

In today's decision, the ECJ stated that Greece was in violation of the fundamental requirement of the Waste Framework Directive by failing to take "the necessary measures to ensure that waste is recovered or disposed of without endangering human health and without using processes or methods which could harm the environment", a particularly serious infringement in the view of the court. According to the judgment, the Greek government has not yet submitted a plan for the management of its hazardous waste, nor has it established an integrated and adequate network of treatment facilities. Furthermore, untreated hazardous waste as well as "historical waste" posing an increased risk to human health and the environment remains at numerous sites in the country.

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