NGOs press European Water Directors for transparency in ongoing evaluation process of EU water legislation

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Ahead of their meeting in Vienna on 29 November 2018, the Living Rivers Europe NGO coalition urges the EU Water Directors to refrain from endorsing a paper called “The Future of the Water Framework Directive”. In a letter addressed at the Water Directors, the NGOs ask for a transparent and inclusive process in the ongoing evaluation of the Water Framework Directive.

According to Living Rivers Europe, the paper has been developed behind closed doors by a selected group of government officials – running counter to years of constructive exchange at EU level between Member States, European Commission, NGOs and other stakeholders. Moreover, the paper proposes legislative amendments to the Water Framework Directive whilst the Commission is still in the process of evaluating the performance of the Directive through a public and stakeholder consultation. Proposals for legislative changes are undermining the EU law evaluation and the role of the Commission and stakeholders in the process.

Wetlands International and its partners in the Living Rivers Europe coalition are concerned that endorsement of the paper by the Water Directors – who represent the Member States on all issues related to water management – will lead to weakening of the Water Framework Directive. This would significantly hinder the achievement of the Directive’s environmental objectives by 2027. A deadline we cannot afford to miss while Europe’s water sources are deteriorating at an alarming rate and freshwater ecosystems face many pressures.

Living Rivers Europe in its letter asks the Water Directors to adopt a proper and transparent process for all stakeholders involved to constructively contribute to the fitness check evaluation of the Water Framework Directive. Moreover, the NGOs believe it would be more pertinent and responsible to discuss how to adopt and implement all necessary measures to keep and bring European waters in good status in the upcoming years until 2027.

To strengthen its appeal for better protection and restoration of Europe’s rivers, lakes, wetlands, streams and groundwater, Wetlands International has launched the #ProtectWater campaign with 100 NGOs across Europe. They call on the European Commission to defend its strong water law and ensure Member States step up their efforts to achieve the Water Framework Directive objectives.

Download the letter sent by Living Rivers Europe to the Water Directors below.

Letter to EU Water Directors on Water Framework Directive fitness check


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About Living Rivers Europe:

About the Water Framework Directive:

  • The Water Framework Directive is one of the EU’s most progressive pieces of environmental legislation. It requires the protection, enhancement and restoration of our rivers, wetlands, lakes and coastal waters, but Member States are currently failing to make it work on the ground;
  • Under the Water Framework Directive, EU governments have committed to ensure no deterioration and achieve good status for the vast majority of all water bodies by 2015, and at the very latest by 2027;
  • Where implemented, the Water Framework Directive has proved to be effective in achieving its goals of good water status and non-deterioration, successfully balancing environmental, social and economic requirements.