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EC calls on Malta, Spain, France and Greece to comply with EU water directives

The European Commission is calling on Malta, Spain, France and Greece to comply with European legislation on a number of separate water issues.

The Commission has requested  Spain to comply with the second round of the River Basin Management Plans (RBMP) under the Water Framework Directive. The Plans give a comprehensive overview of the main issues for each river basin district and should include the specific measures needed to achieve set environmental quality objectives.

So far, Spain has not adopted, published and communicated to the Commission the review and update of the first River Basin Management Plans, due by 22 October 2015 for all the seven River Basin Districts in the Canary Islands.

Public information and consultations on the draft Plans have also not been concluded. Despite being sent a letter of formal notice in April 2017. Spain has still not complied with the obligations set out in the Water Framework Directive,

Spain now has two months to reply to the Commission before the EC eventually, brings the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.

The Commission has also separately called on Spain, together with France and Malta, to ensure that urban waste water is adequately treated.

The Commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to France and Spain, and a reasoned opinion to Malta for failing to fully implement the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. France, Malta and Spain now have two months to reply.

Finally, the Commission is also urging Greece to comply with the Court of Justice’s ruling on nitrates.

In a ruling April 2015, the Court found that Greece had breached its obligations under the Nitrates Directive by failing to establish sufficient vulnerable zones as well as action programmes for those zones.

According to the EC, despite some progress made since the ruling, Greece has still not established any action programmes for the newly designated vulnerable zones.

As such, they cannot fulfil the objectives, for which they have been designated, i.e. to protect water bodies from pollution caused by nitrates.

As two years have passed since the ruling, the Commission is now sending a letter of formal notice to Greece before referring the case back to Court and requesting for financial sanctions to be imposed. Greece now has two months to reply.

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