Commission refers Spain to Court over waste management

Today, the European Commission decided to refer Spain to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to establish and, where applicable revise, waste management plans in accordance with the requirements on the EU rules for Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC) in four autonomous regions (Aragon, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands and Madrid) and in the Autonomous City of Ceuta.

Waste management plans are a key instrument to reduce the adverse impacts of the generation and management of waste on human health and the environment and to move towards the circular economy.

Spain had to establish the necessary Waste Management Plans to cover its whole territory by 12 December 2010, and to evaluate and revise those plans at least every six years. Moreover, Spain should have informed the Commission of the waste management plans, once adopted, and of any substantial revisions to the plans.

The Commission has repeatedly called on Spain to fulfil its obligations: through a letter of formal notice in November 2016, followed by a reasoned opinion in July 2017.


Waste management plans are one of the key instruments provided by the Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC) for the achievement of its objectives. They describe the existing situation and define the objectives of waste management policy. They also formulate the appropriate strategies and identify the necessary implementation means to achieve those objectives.

Spanish regions have the primary competence in the field of waste management. Therefore, compliance with the waste management planning obligations resulting from the Directive is required both at national and regional level.

The adoption and, where appropriate revision, of the outstanding waste management plans should contribute to speed up the adoption of the necessary solutions for the difficulties Spain faces in the enforcement of EU rules on waste management.

For More Information

–  On the key decisions of the June 2018 infringements package, please refer to the full MEMO/18/3986.

–  On the general infringements procedure, see MEMO/12/12.

–  On the EU infringements procedure.