20th Mar 2023

Cyprus best place to bathe in the EU

  • Polish beaches are among the worst in Europe (Photo: European Commission)

The quality of bathing waters at the seaside and by rivers and lakes is gradually decreasing, with Cyprus, Croatia, Malta and Greece scoring best, while beaches in Romania, Poland and Belgium are deemed worst, an EU report shows.

The yearly Quality of bathing waters report published Thursday (16 June) by the European Environment Agency shows a negative trend compared to 2009.

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Comparing water quality in more than 21,000 coastal and inland bathing sites across the EU plus Croatia, Montenegro and Switzerland, the report finds that 18 countries had at least one non‐compliant bathing water. Most of these sites were found in Poland (19 percent), the Netherlands (11.8 percent) and Belgium (8.9 percent).

But in the ex-Yugoslav country of Montenegro, a candidate for EU membership, all beaches on the Adriatic coast only meet mandatory values for good or sufficient quality. None has received "excellent" quality status.

Romania's Black Sea resorts are almost the same story, with less than five percent of the beaches having "excellent" quality status.

In general, coastal bathing water quality deteriorated by 3.5 percent between 2009 and 2010 when it comes to mandatory values and by 9.5 percent when meeting recommended criteria.

Inland water quality has also dropped, with only a quarter of the river bathing waters achieving good values.

"Clean water is a priceless resource, and we should not take it for granted. I would encourage member states to ensure we turn the slight decline we experienced last year into an upward trend," environment commissioner Janez Potocnik said during a press conference.

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