Water Framework Directive passes second committee reading

Efforts to finalise the EU Water Framework Directive are inching forward, with the European Parliament's Environment Committee having completed its second reading. The full Parliament will debate the changes in mid-February.

Changes introduced at the second reading by the Environment Committee include:

  • demand that the Ospar agreement to end hazardous discharges to sea by 2020 be included in the directive (see related story)
  • insistence that surface and groundwater standards must be met within 10 years of the directive coming into force, instead of the 16 years proposed by the Council of Ministers. Derogations would be a maximum of 16 years, not the 18 years suggested by the Council
  • water pricing would not be linked to the true cost of water, as originally proposed. Instead, consumers should make an “adequate contribution” toward the cost of water as a way to encourage efficient water use

Once the full Parliament has debated the Committee’s recommendations, the Water Framework Directive will go back to the Council of Ministers for further consideration.

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