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Parliamentary questions
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18 March 2008
Answer given by Mr Dimas on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-0256/2008

The Commission, deeply concerned by the waste crisis in Naples and the surrounding territory, and its possible public health and environmental consequences, opened an investigation and decided to launch legal action against Italy under Article 226 of the EC Treaty in June 2007. Further to a visit to Naples, and subsequent meetings and contacts with the Italian authorities, the Commission drew the conclusion that serious structural problems are affecting the waste management system in Campania Region. This led to the decision, taken on 31 January 2008, to send a Reasoned Opinion against Italy for breach of the Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2006/12/EC(1)).

It should be noted that Directive 2006/12/EC, in its Article 4, requires Member States 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. The Commission considers that full compliance with Community law in the waste sector is the key to the implementation of a renewed and effective waste management system in the Campania Region, which should ensure that the appropriate environmental and health standards are met.

The Commission will continue to monitor the situation in Campania and will pursue the existing infringement procedure against Italy until the current breaches of Community environmental law in Campania are brought to an end.

As regards the concentrations of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in milk or in other foodstuffs and the contamination of the food chain, the Commission recommends that Member States perform the monitoring of background presence of dioxins and PCBs in foodstuffs and asks that Member States provide the Commission with the results obtained, on a regular basis, for compilation into one database(2).

In March 2003, the Italian authorities informed the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) of a contamination of the food chain in the Campania Region possibly due to inappropriate waste disposal and of the measures taken to avoid contaminated feed and food entering the feed and food chain. The RASFF immediately transmitted this information to all Member States.

As regards the more recent problems of disposal of waste, the Italian authorities did not inform the Commission or the RASFF of a contamination of the feed and food chain in the Campania Region.

The Commission has asked the Italian authorities to provide recent analytical results on dioxins and PCBs of feed and food originating in the Region of Campania and to present these results at an Expert Committee meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health which takes place in the beginning of March 2008.

(1)Directive 2006/12/EC of Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on waste, OJ L 114, 27.4.2006.
(2)Commission Recommendation 2006/794/EC of 16 November 2006 on the monitoring of background levels of dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs in foodstuffs, OJ L 322, 22.11.2006.

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