Taking its infringement proceedings under Article 169 of the EC Treaty a stage further, the European Commission decided on December 11 to send a reasoned opinion to Greece for non-respect of the European Union's Nitrates Directive (Council Directive 91/676/EEC on the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources). The Commission's action reflects the non-conformity of existing Greek legislation, and in particular its failure to give proper effect to the provisions of the Directive dealing with the designation of vulnerable zones and the establishment of action programmes. The Nitrates Directive requires Member States to carry out monitoring of surface waters and groundwater, and to identify and designate vulnerable zones (i.e. zones affected by nitrate-related pollution) by December 20, 1993. Action programmes for such zones were required to be established by December 20, 1995 in order to control nitrate pollution from agricultural sources.

The European Commission has also decided to make a second application to the European Court of Justice and to seek financial...

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