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Parliamentary questions
20 March 2018
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-000379/2018

The Commission is aiming to adopt a communication on a strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment before summer 2018.

The Fitness Check that the Commission has just started on Directive 2000/60/EC (Water Framework Directive)(1) will also cover Directive 2013/39/EU (Environmental Quality Standards Directive (EQSD))(2). It will assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and EU added value of the legislation, including whether its objectives are being met and are still appropriate.

In the last review of the EQSD, in 2013, the need to know more about emerging pollutants was taken into account and led to the establishment of an EU-wide watch-list mechanism, which is being used to gather monitoring data on the presence of pharmaceutical substances in the environment.

Available evidence shows that certain drug residues are more difficult than others to remove from raw water used to produce drinking water because of properties such as persistence. On 1 February 2018, the Commission tabled its proposalCOM (2017) 753 final, 1.2.2018(3)OJ L 330, 5.12.1998, p. 32(4)Article 8(1)(d) and Article 8(5) of the Commission Proposal (COM(2017)753 final) concern respectively monitoring and mitigating measures for these substances.(5)Concerning the upcoming strategy, the Commission is still consulting externally and internally, but the proposed approach will take due account of existing legislation, including the directive 92/43/EEC (Habitats Directive)

OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.(6) where relevant, and the objectives of the One Health Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.

(1)OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1
(2)OJ L 348, 24.12.2008, p. 84
(3) for a recast of Directive 98/83/EC (Drinking Water Directive)
(4) which includes the obligation for Member States to undertake risk-based assessments at the water catchment and supply levels. Under this new proposal
(5), mitigating measures will have to be taken if the level of pharmaceutical substances presents a risk to public health or the environment.
(6) where relevant, and the objectives of the One Health Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Last updated: 22 March 2018Legal notice