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Parliamentary questions
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6 September 2021
Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003570/2021

The Water Framework Directive (WFD)(1) requires Member States to address water pollution from all sources. Surface water bodies should have achieved good status by 2015, with limited exemptions until 2027. Member States have to submit every six years River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) setting out progress and measures taken to achieve good status.

According to the information reported by the Italian authorities in 2016 in the second RBMPs under the WFD, the ecological status of the Fratta-Gorzone river varies between ‘Poor’ and ‘Moderate’, whereas the chemical status is ‘Good’. This implies that current measures are insufficient to achieve good ‘ecological status’.

In its 2019 assessment report of the second RBMPs(2), the Commission urged Italy to clearly state in the next RBMPs, what are the key measures that Italy will take to ensure a good status by 2027. Since 5 March 2021 the draft third RBMP for the Eastern Alps River Basin District, to which the river belongs, is open for public consultation(3).

The Commission also urged Italy to improve the monitoring(4) of priority substances(5). This implies choosing sufficient monitoring points within each body in order to assess the magnitude and impact of the point source.

However, it is important to note that, without prejudice to the Commission’s role as guardian of the Treaties, Member States are primarily responsible to ensure compliance with the EU legislation, in this case the relevant Italian local authority(6).

In parallel, the Commission prioritises its enforcement efforts on cases pointing to a systemic breach of EC law(7). In this respect, the Commission initiated a dialogue with all Member States to follow up on the recommendations of its 2019 report.

(1)Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1‐73.
(4)Commission Staff Working Document, 2019, Italy, Second River Basin Management Plans https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52019SC0051&qid=1627913327495&from=EN
(5)Priority substances include e.g. various (heavy) metals that are discharged by tanneries.
(6)Autorità di bacino distretualle delle Alpi Orientali’: http://www.alpiorientali.it/
(7)Communication ‘EC law: Better results through better application’ — OJ C 18, 19.1.2017, p. 10-20.
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