Thursday

27th Apr 2017

More bathing bans at Italian beaches than anywhere in Europe

  • Safest way to enjoy an Italian beach (Photo: Stuck in Customs)

The quality of bathing waters at European beaches, both inland and at the seaside, have improved steadily over recent years.

As of last year, a full 96 percent of coastal beaches met EU minimum standards and 90 percent of beaches next to rivers and lakes, according to the latest annual "bathing water report" from the European Commission.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

This is up from an 80 percent compliance rate for seasides in 1990 and 52 percent for inland waters.

"Over the last 30 years, EU and national legislation has significantly improved the quality of Europe's bathing waters but our work does not end here," said environment commissioner Janez Potocnik upon the report's publication on Thursday (10 June).

"Despite our decade-long track record of high quality, we need to keep up the effort constantly to both improve and maintain what we have achieved."

Almost all the seaside beaches in Cyprus, France, Greece and Portugal complied with the EU's tougher "guide values."

However, some two percent of coastal bathing sites had to be banned in 2009 and most of these were in one member state - Italy.

Additionally, just 46.4 percent of Italian inland bathing sites met the EU's minimum quality levels last year, down 19.4 percent from 2008.

The findings prompted the commissioner to suggest he would not go swimming in the country.

"Italy has work to do," he said. "I don't know about the discrepancies, but I'm swimming on the other side."

Freshwater bathing sites showed greater variation in their water quality, according to the commission, but the best lakeside or riverside places to swim are in Finland, France, Germany and Sweden.

Member states vary in EU 'polluter pays' rules

An EU directive aimed at supporting the "polluter pays principle" has resulted in a patchwork situation, but the European Commission is not yet ready to propose a change.

Analysis

EU transport sector has a CO2 problem

Although car manufacturers are reaching their CO2 targets for their fleets, car usage has gone up in Germany, while the gap between lab results and actual fuel consumption has increased.

Column / Crude World

Nord Stream 2: The elephant in the room

The European Commission should provide a thorough impact assessment of Nord Stream 2, a project that appears to go against all of its Energy Union objectives.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  2. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act
  3. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  4. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  6. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  7. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  8. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  9. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  10. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  11. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?