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Parliamentary questions
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20 January 2014
Answer given by Mr Potočnik on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-013302/2013

The classification of the quality of bathing waters at EU level, according to the requirements of the Bathing Water Directive (BWD),(1) is carried out by the European Environment Agency, based on the information provided by the national governments. The methodology is established by the directive, and the way in which it is applied in practice is known by Member States.

Article 4 (2) (b) of the BWD establishes that bathing water quality assessments shall be carried out after the end of each bathing season. The assessment cycle is therefore annual. Unless there were factual mistakes the results of past assessments should not be changed.

As regards data sets different situations are considered by the BWD, and different provisions apply. The assessment of bathing water quality is normally based on four datasets (one related to the relevant season) and three previous ones, but can be done on the basis of set of data from the preceding three seasons only, as provided by Article 4 (2) of the directive. This provision, however, can be applied only if the Member State concerned notifies the Commission at the latest before the fourth assessment. Furthermore, Art. 4 makes no mention of any reassessments.

In addition, under certain conditions, a bathing water quality assessment may be carried out on the basis of a dataset relating to fewer than four bathing seasons if any changes have occurred that are likely to affect the classification of the bathing water, as indicated by Article 4 (4) (b) of the directive. If such a situation is to be considered, it should be justified by the Member State concerned within the relevant reporting exercise.

(1)Directive 2006/7/EC, OJ L 64/37, 4.3.2006.

OJ C 237, 22/07/2014
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