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Brussels, 30 September 2010

Environment: Commission asks Belgium to comply with EU water legislation

The European Commission is sending a request to Belgium to address a significant number of issues of non-conformity between national and EU water legislation. Belgium has two months to comply with the reasoned opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may refer the case to the European Court of Justice.

EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "It is essential for EU law to be correctly transposed at national level to ensure Member States meet the objectives of the Directive."

Implementation of the Water Framework Directive in Belgium

The Commission is asking Belgium to properly implement Directive 2000/60/EC, which establishes a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. A significant number of issues of non-conformity with the Directive remain in all three regions of the country Wallonia, Flanders and the Brussels-Capital region.

Issues include differences over definitions, leaving uncertainty as to the scope of the legislation and obligations of the Directive at national level. Some gaps also remain in the description of measures that must be taken to reach the Directive's objective of good water status, as a rule by 2015. Gaps in implementation measures may affect the monitoring and verification of achievement of the environmental objectives of the Directive.

Although the Belgian authorities have adopted new legislation and will adopt more in the course of time, this legislation will not solve all outstanding issues. The Commission is therefore sending a reasoned opinion. Belgium has two months to respond.

For current statistics on infringements in general see:


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