Procedure : 2020/2613(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : O-000078/2020

Texts tabled :

O-000078/2020 (B9-0502/2020)

Debates :

PV 15/12/2020 - 3
CRE 15/12/2020 - 3

Votes :

Texts adopted :

Parliamentary questions
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7 December 2020
Question for oral answer  O-000078/2020
to the Commission
Rule 136
Christophe Hansen, Sara Cerdas, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Marco Dreosto, Martin Häusling, Joanna Kopcińska, Malin Björk, Eleonora Evi
on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 Answer in plenary 
 Subject: Implementation of the EU water legislation

Parliament welcomes the Commission’s conclusion that the Water Framework Directive(1) (WFD) is fit for purpose, yet considers that its implementation needs to be improved and speeded up. Even though the WFD has been successful in setting up a governance framework for integrated water management for hundreds of thousands of bodies of water in the EU, in slowing down the deterioration of water status and in reducing chemical pollution, less than half of EU’s bodies of water are classified as being in good status in spite of the 2015 deadline. Moreover, only one out of the four freshwater indicators has shown progress over the last 10-15 years, and there have been a number of issues related to the implementation of the water legislation, largely due to the inadequate funding and insufficient integration of environmental objectives into sectoral policies. In this context, we would welcome answers from the Commission to the following questions:

1. What concrete actions will the Commission take in order to improve and enforce the implementation of the water legislation, ensuring that its objectives are achieved as soon as possible, and by 2027 at the latest?

2. The fitness check of the water legislation indicated considerable variations in implementation between Member States, for example in relation to the pollutants monitored and the thresholds established in the Groundwater Directive(2). How will the Commission seek to achieve a more harmonious implementation?

3. How will the Commission improve the integration of the Directives’ objectives, particularly in the agricultural, energy and transport sectors, and how will it ensure policy coherence between the WFD, the biodiversity strategy, the circular economy, the future zero-pollution action plan and the common agricultural policy, in particular with regard to the need for increased measures for the protection of water in the agriculture sector?

4. How will the Commission address the problems in the field of chemicals, such as the need to monitor a wider range of substances and take into account the combined effects of mixtures? What action will the Commission take on pollutants of emerging concern, particularly pharmaceuticals and microplastics? How will these substances be regulated?

5. Does the Commission consider that sufficient funding has been allocated in the latest proposal for the WFD in the multiannual financial framework? What measures will the Commission take regarding the allocation of economic resources to freshwater conservation, in order to ensure the full implementation of cost recovery (Article 9 WFD), and to fully apply the user pays and the polluter pays principles?

6. How is the Commission planning to reduce the use of exemptions to the WFD in the third cycle of river basin management plans?

Submitted: 07/12/2020

Lapses: 08/03/2021

(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.
(2)Directive 2006/118/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration, OJ L 372, 27.12.2006, p. 19.
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