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Brussels, 30 September 2010

Environment: Commission requests Austria and the Czech Republic to comply with rules on flood prevention

The European Commission requests Austria and the Czech Republic to comply with EU environmental legislation in the area of flood prevention and risk management. The Czech Republic has failed to inform the Commission about the implementation of this legislation, which was due by November 2009. Austria has sent partial information to the Commission, but there are still significant gaps. Both countries have two months to inform the Commission of measures taken to comply with the request for information. In the absence of a satisfactory response to the reasoned opinion, the Commission may refer them to the Court of Justice.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said “As recent events show, floods pose a serious risk to human health, environment and economy. I urge Member States to submit this legislation as soon as possible.”

Non-communication of the Floods Directive

Directive 2007/60/EC on the assessment and management of flood risks is intended to reduce and manage the risks that floods pose to human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity. Floods endanger lives and cause human tragedy as well as heavy economic losses. Floods are natural phenomena but through the right measures their likelihood and impact can be limited. In addition to social and economic damage, floods can have severe environmental consequences, for example when installations holding quantities of chemicals are inundated or wetland areas destroyed. The coming decades are likely to see a higher flood risk in Europe and potentially greater economic damage.

The Directive requires Member States to carry out a preliminary assessment by 2011 to identify the river basins and associated coastal areas at risk of flooding. Flood risk maps are then to be drawn up for such zones by 2013, with flood risk management plans following two year later, by 2015. The risk maps focus on prevention, protection and preparedness.

Member States had until 26 November 2009 to implement the legislation and inform the Commission. Ensuring prompt and correct implementation of EU legislation by Member States is a priority for the Commission.

Both countries were sent letters of formal notice about their non-communication in March 2010. To date, the Commission has yet to receive details about transposition in the Czech Republic. In Austria, apart from one regional legal act, no further transposition legislation has been notified. The Commission has therefore decided to send both countries a reasoned opinion.

For current statistics on infringements in general see:

More details on water policy:


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