Guardian of the environment, Stavros Dimas, the Greek EU commissioner was waxing lyrical about his portfolio to MEPs in the EU parliament at Strasbourg, earlier this week, making a lofty declaration about the "Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution".
We should remember, he said, "that Environment is one area that Europeans consistently support and where they see clear value in Community action. Action in the field of air pollution will have direct benefits for the European citizens."
It is a pity, however, that his own colleagues in the Greek government do not seem to share his exalted values. Not two days later, according to Kathimerini, the ECJ found Greece guilty of failing to take adequate measures to protect the environment from the pollution caused by an electricity plant on the island of Crete.
The court agreed with the EU commission that Greece had breached EU guidelines by not preparing or implementing policies that allow for the plant to adjust to the best available technology. The electricity plant is located at Linoperasmata and is owned by the Public Power Corporation (PPC).
Although the court recognized that Greece had taken some steps to reduce pollution created by the plant, it said the country did not have a complete strategy in place. It rejected Greece’s excuse that it cost too much to make the electricity plant more environmentally friendly, saying that the economic condition of PPC, which has 6.7 million customers, did not support this argument.
Still, at least there is the consolation that: "Environment is one area that Europeans consistently support".