Landfills: Commission refers ROMANIA to the Court of Justice of the European Union over its failure to comply with the Court judgment

(Source: European Commission)

The Commission decided today to refer Romania back to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully comply with the Court judgment of 18 October 2018, which found that Romania failed to meet its obligations under the Landfill Directive (Directive 1999/31/EC). According to this judgment, by 16 July 2009, Romania was obliged to close and rehabilitate all landfills that did not obtain a permit to operate. The Court found that Romania had failed to comply with this obligation with respect to 68 landfills. This is a second referral to Court which may result in penalties for the time elapsed after the first judgement until achieving compliance.

The Landfill Directive sets standards and provides guidance to prevent or reduce as far as possible negative effects on human health and the environment from landfilling of waste. The European Green Deal and the Zero Pollution Action Plan set a zero pollution ambition for the EU. Full implementation of the standards enshrined in EU legislation is important to effectively protect human health and safeguard the natural environment.

Three years after the judgment, Romania has closed and rehabilitated 24 landfills. Thus, 44 are still not closed and for many of them the necessary works for their rehabilitation are not yet planned. To comply with the Court judgment, Romania is expected to take all the necessary measures in order to ensure that these landfills are closed, sealed and rehabilitated as soon as possible due to the health and environmental risks they entail.


Under EU law, only safe and controlled landfill activities should be carried out in Europe. The Landfill Directive (Directive 1999/31/EC) lays down standards to protect human health and the environment, in particular surface water, groundwater, soil and air, from the negative effects caused by the collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of waste. It aims to prevent or reduce, as far as possible, negative effects of landfilling of waste over the whole life-cycle of landfills.

There are many different ways of disposing of waste. Burying it in the ground, known as ‘landfilling’, is the least environmentally sustainable and should be kept to the absolute minimum.

For more information

Landfill Waste Directive – Overview

Press release – referral to Court of Justice of the EU in 2017

Infringements database

EU infringements procedure

October infringements package

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