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Parliamentary questions
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8 August 2018
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003410/2018

Temporary deterioration in the status of water bodies shall not be in breach of the Water Framework Directive (WFD)(1) if this is e.g. the result of circumstances of natural cause which are exceptional, in particular extreme floods and prolonged droughts provided certain conditions are met.

Under the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (EIAD)(2), projects likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue, inter alia, of their nature, size or location must be made subject to an environmental effect assessment (Article 2(1)).

According to Article 2(4) of the EIAD, Member States may, in exceptional cases, exempt a specific project in whole or in part from the directive’s provisions, where the application of those provisions would result in adversely affecting the purpose of the project, provided that the objectives of the EIAD are met. The Commission has been notified for such exemptions of projects related to emergency works to fight droughts in the Segura area from EIA procedure. These exemptions were found to be in compliance with Article 2(4).

Based on the information available, the Commission is not in a position to determine whether there is a breach of the WFD or EU public procurement rules. It is for the Spanish authorities to apply the necessary measures to avoid permanent deterioration as a result of any action taken.

The Commission is currently assessing the updated River Basin Management Plans to verify that they meet the requirements of the WFD.

(1)2000/60/EC, OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1‐73.
(2)Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, OJ L 124, 25.4.2014, p. 1.

Last updated: 8 August 2018Legal notice