Luxembourg, May 31 (AFP) The European Union’s top court today fined crisis-ridden Italy 25 million euros for years of failure to treat urban sewage, warning of steeper fines with more delays. Also Read - Coronavirus New Strain: 116 People in India Infected With UK Variant

The European Court of Justice found Italy had missed repeated deadlines to comply with “EU law on the collection and treatment of urban waste water” in scores of areas, almost all of them in the country’s south. Also Read - Mild Infection Good Sign, Shows Immune System Responding To Vaccine: AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria

“Italy is ordered to pay a lump sum of 25 million euros (29 million dollars) and a fine of more than 30 million euros for every six months of delay,” the court ruled. Also Read - Highlights IND vs AUS 4th Test Day 2 Gabba, Brisbane AS IT HAPPENED: Rohit Sharma Wicket Gives Australia Advantage Before Rain Abandons Play, Rahane-Pujara Key; India Trail by 307 Runs

“The court already found in its first judgment in this matter in 2012 that Italy had failed to fulfil its obligations,” it added.

The European Commission, the 28-nation EU’s executive arm, took Italy back to the Luxembourg-based court in December 2016 for failing to fully comply with the tribunal’s first ruling.

Four years after the first ruling, it said, more than six million people in 80 areas, 51 of them in Sicily, lacked proper waste water treatment.

The southern regions of Calabria and Campania together accounted for 20 areas that had substandard treatment.

“The lack of adequate collection and treatment systems for these 80 agglomerations poses significant risks to human health, inland waters and the marine environment,” the commission said at the time.

The fines come as Italy is mired in political crisis following failed efforts by eurosceptic populist and right-wing parties to form a government amid staggering debt.

The deadlock could lead to new elections further bolstering anti-EU populists. (AFP) HMB HMB

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.