More infringement procedures for Italy

Italian soldiers inspect handbags sold by African migrants. Corso Buenos Aires, Milan. [Joel Schalit/Flickr]

Two new infringement procedures have been opened against Italy by the European Commission, which has also taken further action in three cases that are already active. EURACTIV Italy reports.

The European Commission has decided to open a formal infringement procedure against Italy over its mismanagement of the Xylella bacteria outbreak, which has devastated the country’s olive crop.

Brussels has sent a formal notice letter to Rome after the European Veterinary Office carried out an inspection in November, and found that Italy is not doing all it can to eradicate, contain and observe the Xylella outbreak.

The executive therefore decided to proceed with a formal warning, said Commission spokesperson, Enrico Brivio.

Rosa Domato MEP (Five Star Party) observed that the pending decision carries the threat of “an export ban on olive trees across Europe”.

>>Read: Italy opens door for farmers to replant lost olive trees

Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Malta have been picked out by the EU’s executive for failing to implement fully the common European asylum system.

In the case of Croatia, Greece and Italy, Brussels alleges that the countries have failed to properly implement the Eurodac regulation that states that refugee fingerprints have to be taken and sent to a central EU database within 72 hours of the refugee’s arrival, in order to guarantee that the Dublin system and relocation procedure of the Union function correctly.

After informal warnings in October, the executive has now decided to formally start proceedings against the three countries. They have two months to appeal the decision before further steps are taken.

>>Read: Germany to issue refugees with identity cards

The Commission has also taken further action in procedures that are already open against Italy. Firstly, it will ask for a reasoned opinion on Italian legislation that provides residents of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region with discounted diesel and petrol.

As European law does not provide for such reductions and exemptions, Brussels has requested that Italy remove it from legislation if it does not want the European Commission to refer the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Ireland, Italy and Luxembourg have also been warned again by the Commission over their failure to transpose the CLP Directive on classification, labelling and packaging of substances into their national law.

This is the second warning that the executive body has issued and, once again, it could result in the three countries being referred to the ECJ if they do not take the necessary steps.

>>Read: Israel fumes over planned EU labelling of settlement products

The other form of action that the executive has taken is to proceed to the reasoned opinion stage of their procedures that are open against Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden over their failures to implement the Directive on deposit guarantee schemes, as part of the Banking Union project.

As the deadline of 3 July 2015 has long since passed, the Commission has been compelled to act due to a lack of satisfactory responses from any of the countries concerned. 

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