April 7, 2006

Italy faces fines for flouting EU environment laws

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Italy faces the prospect of daily
fines for failing to comply with rulings by the European
Union's top court that it broke EU environment laws, the bloc's
executive said on Friday.

The European Commission has warned Italy a final time for
not implementing the two 2004 rulings by the European Court of
Justice, which found that the government failed to adequately
manage two waste landfills.

If the Italian authorities fail to answer the Commission's
request, the EU executive will ask the court to impose daily
fines for as long as the offences continue.

"These violations mean lower protection for Italian
citizens, so we ask Italy to act swiftly," EU Environment
Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement.

The Commission has also sent second and final warnings to
Italy in relation to three separate breaches of EU environment
law. Two cases concern the protection of birds, while the other
cites Italy's failure in the area of air pollution.