Brussels urges eight Member States to finalise water management plans
The European Commission is calling on eight Member States to finalise the review of their River Basin Management Plans (RBMP’s) as required under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and/or the Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMP’s) as required under the Floods Directive (FD). Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Spain, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia now have two months to respond and take the necessary measures. If they don’t reply Brussels may decide to refer the Member States to the European Court of Justice.
This decision of the European Commission was published the 28th of September in the September Infringement Package. The WFD and FD require Member States to review, update and report their water management plans every six years. RBMP’s include a programme of measures to ensure good status of all water bodies. FRMP’s are established based on maps showing the potential adverse consequences associated with flood scenarios.
Failing Member States
In February 2023, the European Commission sent letters of formal notice to sixteen Member States to comply with their obligations and to finalise the review of their water plans. Eight Member States (Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Greece, Lithuania, Croatia, Romania and Poland replied and provided the requested plans. Eight other Member States are still failing to comply with their obligations under either one or both Directives. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain, Malta and Portugal are late in the review, adoption and reporting of the third river basin management plans and second flood risk management plans; Ireland and Slovenia are late as regards the review, adoption and reporting of the third river basin management plans; Slovakia is late as regards the review, adoption and reporting of the second flood risk management plans.
Improvement stands still
In the latest report of the European Environment Agency from 2018 only 40% of Europe’s lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal waters comply with a minimum ‘good’ or ‘high’ ecological status in 2010-2015. A vast majority of Europe’s water bodies still fails to meet the European Union’s objectives of the Water Framework Directive. The report showed the improvement European waters came to a standstill and much more needed to be done to make sure all Europe’s water are in a good status.
No respite after 2027
By March 2022 Member States had to report the third generation of River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) to the European Commission. Brussels does not intend to postpone the deadline for achieving the WFD targets. “The Water Framework Directive is meeting its objectives and no legislative changes are planned to extend the existing deadlines,” stated an official spokesperson for the European Commission in Water News Europe.