Vienna: More efforts needed to improve Europe’s waters

During the European Water Conference in Vienna MEP Michel Dantin spoke about the importance of clean water. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Better laws, more investments and reinforced joint efforts are needed to improve water quality and flood management all over Europe. This was the main conclusion of the 5th European Water Conference in Vienna where 400 representatives from EU countries gathered to discuss the state of European Waters. The conference took place on 20 and 21 September and was jointly organised by the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment and the Austrian EU Presidency.

The overall picture of Europe’s waters today is mixed. This summer the European Environment Agency stated in the latest report on the state of water in Europe that the improvement of European waters has come to a standstill. Much more needs to be done to achieve the objectives of EU law. Structural problems due to pollution from agriculture, insufficiently treated waste water, damage as a result of physical changes to rivers and lakes and over-abstraction of water, should be addressed properly. When assessing the overall fitness of EU Water law solving these problems should be kept in mind.

Policy making
During the high level conference was also discussed if Europe’s water policy is able to deal with current and future water challenges, such as pollution from microplastics or pharmaceuticals and the impacts of climate change. Stakeholders, the European Commission, the European Environment Agency and other EU institutions shared their experiences in view of the next water planning cycles. Also the evaluation of the Water Framework Directive, the Floods Directive, and the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD) were in Vienna on the agenda.

More information: