We celebrate the historic decision of the EC not to modify the WFD
Inland water greatly affects the marine environment. Today we celebrate this decision, which marks a milestone in the protection of the most important community regulations for the protection of water. This declaration closes the EC review process that has lasted more than two years, and which has been surrounded by controversy under pressure from some member states and pressure groups that sought to weaken this directive.
This week the European Commission has given the reason to civil society and has officially announced its decision not to modify the Water Framework Directive and to dedicate its efforts to States to implement the necessary measures to protect and improve the health of rivers, wetlands, and aquifers.
The European Commission has communicated its decision not to modify the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60 / EC) and has sent a clear message to the Member States of the European Union: the Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a fundamental standard of Community legislation to protect the environment and must remain strong and ambitious as before. A powerful and crucial message for rivers, wetlands, aquifers, and coastal waters of all Europe.
This message was conveyed at last week’s meeting of Water Directors of the Member States and formally corroborated in statements to POLITICO by the Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, who considers the WFD to be a fundamental piece of legislation of the European Union and is here to stay in its current form. The announcement came six months after the European Commission itself concluded the evaluation after more than two years of consultations on this Directive and stated that the current version was adequate to meet its objectives.
This conclusion is the same one reached by more than 375,000 European citizens who raised their voices in defense of this unique norm in the world for the protection of rivers, wetlands, and aquifers, and who demanded from their rulers greater ambition and commitment to fulfill with its obligations to protect European waters, one of the most important resources for nature conservation and economic development.
In Spain, a coalition of 138 civil society organizations, which showed their support for this rule in the 2019 DMA Defense Manifesto, as part of the European #ProtegeTuAgua campaign, have received this decision with great satisfaction. of the European Commission.
The WFD is a key piece of European environmental legislation that aims to achieve the good condition of all European rivers, wetlands, and aquifers by 2027. Despite the fact that there is still a long way to go before achieving these objectives, they require Member States to leave excuses behind and get to work to meet these obligations.
As part of this coalition of civil society entities, Dr. Juanjo González Trueba, executive director of the Surf and Nature Alliance, points out “this great step by the Commission is a great advance for our seas as the directive covers up to a fringe coastal and competently overlaps with the directive on the regulation of marine space “, Julia Martínez, director of the Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua, considers that” the decision of the European Commission is a very important milestone in support of this unique European standard in the world, Under pressure from some member states and pressure groups that wanted to lower their ambition in order to continue deteriorating our rivers, wetlands, and aquifers ”.
For his part, Roberto González, head of the SEO / BirdLife water program, believes that now “no more delays can accumulate, the time has come to work generously and turn the water policy to value the accredited technical capacity of our country, protect and improve our aquatic ecosystems and permanently stop the alarming loss of biodiversity that depends on them. ”
Rafael Seiz, responsible for WWF Spain’s #ProtegeTuAgua campaign, concludes that “this decision by the Commission not to modify the Water Framework Directive after hearing the voice of hundreds of thousands of citizens is essential to guarantee the water security provided by some sources. of water in good condition on which our economy depends, in an uncertain scenario after the Covid-19 health crisis and in which the impacts of climate change will exacerbate the challenges we are already facing. ”
These 138 organizations that are part of the Living Rivers Europe coalition want to send a clear message that “this is an extremely important victory for civil society, which has shown its commitment to defending the common good, and that today more than ever we need a Strong directive that guarantees the water that people and nature need ”. The campaign entities request the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge that this powerful message from the European Commission should be reflected by reorienting the review of the third planning cycle already started.