The EU Commission has referred Italy to the Court of Justice for not taking adequate measures to prevent the spread of the harmful ‘Xylella fastidiosa’ organism in the south-eastern region of Apulia. The first outbreak of Xylella fastidiosa in the region was detected in October 2013, at which point Italian authorities should have removed infected plants in the demarcated areas and carried out monitoring and sampling operations in the relevant locations. Italy’s progress in completing the operations was considered ineffective and risked the further spread of the organism beyond the current demarcated area. The Commission has urged Italy to fulfil its obligations on three occasions: via letter, a supplementary letter of formal notice and a reasoned opinion.
Xylella fastidiosa is one of the world’s most dangerous plant bacteria, causing a variety of diseases that invariably lead to the death of infected plants. Member States have to take all necessary measures to eradicate Xylella fastidiosa and prevent huge financial damage. Dialogue is ongoing to prevent further spread of Xylella fastidiosa in Apulia.