The European Commission takes stock of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and calls Member States to make up for the delay

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12 Mar

A report on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive has been published by the European Commission. The conclusion is that, overall, knowledge and reporting on the Water Framework Directive have significantly improved. However, much remains to be done to fully achieve the objectives of the Water Framework Directive and related Directives, first and foremost by the Member States.

The report 

On the 26th of February, the Commission published a report on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Floods Directive (FD). The report is based on the Commission's assessment of the second River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) and first Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs) prepared and reported by Member States for the period 2015-2021. 

Conclusions 

It is concluded that, overall, knowledge and reporting on the Water Framework Directive have significantly improved compared to the previous cycle (2009-2015). Also, that more Member States reported in a timely manner and with more comprehensive, relevant and reliable information. However, “much remains to be done to fully achieve the objectives of the Water Framework Directive and related Directives, first and foremost by the Member States.” It is anticipated that Member States’ full compliance with the WFD objectives may not be reached by 2027. 

EAA and EFTTA welcome the findings, which show, not surprisingly, that the Member States have to do more and at a greater pace about present pressures like chemical pollution, over-abstraction of water, and the thousands of dams and weirs altering the natural river flow and ecosystem, as well as new emerging pollutants e.g. microplastics and pharmaceuticals, and to take into account the fact that “Europe’s waters are increasingly affected by climate change.” 

The Commission’s report will feed into the ongoing Fitness Check of EU water law. EAA, together with other prominent NGOs, is campaigning against making changes to the WFD as some Member States would like to happen. EAA’s campaign page #ProtectWater is here

In July last year, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published the report “State of Water”, which is referred to in the Commission’s report. EAA wrote this piece about the EEA report: “State of European waters: EU Member States need to do much more”. 


Fish migration is impaired by tens of thousands of impassable obstacles in Europe’s rivers.
We need a strong WFD to deal with that.


Screenshot from a short film about a dam removal in a small
river in Denmark in connection with an EU LIFE project.
@Skelmose TV: https://vimeo.com/8955210


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