The Court of Justice of the European Union found that Italy had failed to fulfill two of its obligations under the European Commission decision to prevent the spread of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. In its judgment in ‘Case C-443/18, Commission v Italy (Xylella fastidiosa bacterium),’ the court found Italy is liable for the payment of court costs for the proceedings.
According to the ruling, which concludes the first phase of an infringement procedure opened in 2015, “Italy had not immediately removed, in the containment area, at least all the infected plants in the 20-kilometre strip of the infected zone bordering the buffer zone,” and where those had been removed, “this was done only several months after those plants had been found to be infected.” Moreover, the Court found that Italy failed to conduct annual surveys at appropriate times of the year.
On the other hand, the Court rejected the Commission’s request to establish “that Italy has persistently and generally failed to fulfill the obligation to prevent the spread of Xylella.”
“We are confident for the future, since the newly elected Minister of Agriculture, Teresa Bellanova put the contrast to the bacterium and the reconstruction of the infected area at highest priority, ” the president of Italia Olivicola, Gennaro Sicolo told Olive Oil Times, while urging the European Union “to play its part by allocating funds to restore the productive potential of the territory hit by the disease.”
The president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini called for an “univocal and shared strategy between regional, national, and community bodies to stop Xylella and restore hope for the future of the territories that have lost their olive and landscape heritage.”