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EU team on Italy waste management mission

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(BRUSSELS) - A European Union team heads to Italy early next week in the wake of its garbage crisis, weeks after the country was warned of legal action and massive fines failing waste management improvement around Naples.

A spokesman for Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said Friday that a team of experts would be in Italy on Monday and Tuesday to look at the situation but declined further details on the mission.

The move comes however after Potocnik said last month, amid clashes over the garbage crisis in the Naples, that "today's situation leads us to believe that measures taken by Italian authorities since 2007 are insufficient."

He said at the time that the Commission, the EU executive arm, was considering sending a team to assess whether Italy remained in breach of European legislation requiring waste disposal installations that protect human health and the environment.

Europe's highest court in March found Italy in breach of EU legislation for its failure to clean up the Naples region garbage crisis.

Should the European Commission decide to refer the matter back to the court -- the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice -- for a second time, and should it decide against Italy, the country would face a fine running into millions of euros.

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