EU to slap heavy fines on France

21st March 2007, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, March 21, 2007 (AFP) - The European Commission affirmed Wednesday that it would seek heavy fines against France for failing to cut nitrate levels in regional waters, after it has examined new proposals to remedy the problem.

BRUSSELS, March 21, 2007 (AFP) - The European Commission affirmed Wednesday that it would seek heavy fines against France for failing to cut nitrate levels in regional waters, after it has examined new proposals to remedy the problem.

The EU's executive body said it would ask Europe's top court to fine France 28 million euros (37 million dollars) plus a sum of 117,882 euros each day that it fails to comply with an EU regulation 20 years old.

The Commission maintains that nitrate levels are too high in 11 rivers in the northwest French region of Brittany. These rivers are catchment areas for drinking water, after treatment.

The problem is due to agricultural development. Brittany accounts for some seven percent of French farm production, but half the country's pigs and poultry, and 30 percent of its cattle are raised there.

But an environment spokeswoman said that the Commission wanted to examine proposals submitted by the French government on March 13, aimed at cutting nitrate levels, and that it expected to see some sort of action plan.

"We foresee a dialogue in the shortest possible time on the details of this initiative and the ways to implement them," EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement.

The spokeswoman said the process could take several months.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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