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Water is extracted to supply a strawberry farm in the Doñana area. File photograph. J.L.P.
Brussels threatens to fine Spain over Andalusian irrigation law in Doñana

Brussels threatens to fine Spain over Andalusian irrigation law in Doñana

Spain has one month to provide an explanation to the Court of Justice. However it will be up to the Junta de Andalucía to give a response

EUROPA PRESS

Tuesday, 8 February 2022, 11:33

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The European Commission has threatened to take Spain to the European Court of Justice for the Andalusian government's breach of a previous court ruling against the expansion of irrigation crops in the area of the Doñana national park.

In a letter signed by the General Director of the Environment, Florika Fink-Hooiker, the EU expresses its "deep concern" about the impact that the delay in complying with the earlier ruling may have on the Doñana park. It also said it found additional measures mooted by the Andalusian government to expand irrigation crops in the area as "at least disconcerting" and warned they "would aggravate the situation and put at serious risk" compliance with the previous ruling.

The EU said it is willing to make use of "all the instruments at its disposal" and go to the Court of Justice for a second time to request sanctions against the Junta’s plan to legalise 1,460 hectares of irrigated land in Doñana even though the farming plots do not have “the mandatory permits".

In June 2021, the EU ruled that Spain should have taken into account illegal water withdrawals and those destined for urban supply in the estimation of groundwater use from Doñana. Because this did not happen Spain was found to be in non-compliance with the European directives on Water and Habitats.

The June ruling also warned that "appropriate measures have not been adopted to avoid appreciable alterations of the types of protected habitats" in the area.

“We have not yet concluded that all the necessary measures are being applied” to comply with the ruling, the EU added.

Spain has one month to provide an explanation to the Court of Justice. However it will be up to the Junta de Andalucía to give a response.

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