375,386 citizens call for strong EU legislation to protect water

Over the past months, an alliance of numerous European environmental and nature conservation associations have promoted broad participation in a public EU consultation to evaluate existing EU water legislation.

Livanjsko Polje, Bosnia and Herzegovina, wetland, floodplain
Livanjsko Polje is not only the largest wetland in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also the largest regularly flooded karst polje in the world. The wide-stretching water areas of this natural reservoir as well as its swamp vegetation and alder marsh forests are the habitat to a wide range of rare plants and animals. © Martin Schneider Jacoby

The environmental and nature conservation organisations Anglerverband Niedersachsen (AVN), Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), Deutscher Anglerverband, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), EuroNatur, Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung (FUE), Grüne Liga, Landesbund für Vogelschutz (LBV), Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU), NaturFreunde Deutschlands, Verband Deutscher Sporttaucher (VDST), WWF, and their umbrella organisation Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR) jointly comment on the completion of the survey:

Protecting our water needs strong EU regulations: That’s the message that 375,386 EU citizens conveyed to the European Commission, calling to keep the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) and its objectives in place. This makes the consultation one of the most successful examples of citizen participation in the history of the European Union.

With 167,302 participants, Germany was the top contributor to the EU-wide survey. The environmental and nature conservation groups see this as a clear mandate for the Federal Government to take action at EU level to ensure that current legislation is not watered down and that the protection of our most important resource is not weakened.
The WFD is regarded as the core piece of legislation to protect rivers, lakes and coastal waters, including their animal and plant biodiversity, as well as groundwater throughout Europe. At present, only 8.2 percent of German water bodies are in a good status (compared to 40 percent EU-wide). This means that Germany is a long way from achieving the EU-wide goal set 19 years ago to bring all water bodies to good status by 2027 at the latest.

The NGOs call on the German Federal and State Governments to massively step up their efforts to improve WFD implementation. Policy areas such as agriculture, transport or industries must be obliged to comply with the objectives of the Water Framework Directive in order to protect water bodies (for example from increasing nitrate pollution). The current round of reforms of the Common European Agricultural Policy (CAP) must contribute to this, as must the amendment of the regulations on fertiliser use in Germany.

Background information:
The EU Commission is expected to present an analysis of the consultation in autumn 2019. The decision on the future of the WFD is expected for the first half of 2020. The environmental and nature conservation groups will continue to closely monitor the process to make sure that this visionary piece of legislation is preserved, enforced by the EU Commission and fully implemented by the Member States.

Contact:
Christian Stielow, Tel: 07732-927 215, Mail: christian.stielow(at)euronatur.org 

 

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