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France, Italy may be fined for breaching EU's environment laws

The European Union's executive asked the bloc's highest court to fine Italy and France for violating EU rules, saying the two governments are endangering people's health and the environment.

The European Commission wants Italy penalized for failing to clean up illegal landfill sites. France will have to answer for refusing to incorporate into domestic law an EU rule that bans the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms into the environment. „The fundamental issue at stake here is the health of EU citizens and the protection of our environment,” Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement from Brussels yesterday.

The commission wants the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice to fine Italy more than €28.9 million ($38.3 million) and to impose daily penalties of about €287,555. France faces a lump sum payment of €38 million and a daily fine of €366,744. The court has fined only three countries - France, Spain and Greece - for breaking the 25-nation EU's laws. (Bloomberg)