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Brussels, 24 November 2010

Environment: Commission asks Denmark to comply with EU water legislation

The European Commission is asking Denmark to address a number of issues of non-conformity between national and EU water legislation. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, a reasoned opinion is therefore being sent. Denmark has two months to comply with the request. Failing this, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the European Court of Justice.

The Commission is asking Denmark to properly implement Directive 2000/60/EC,

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which establishes a framework for EU action in the field of water policy. A letter of formal notice was sent to Denmark in 2007 after the discovery of a number of issues of non-conformity between national legislation and the requirements of EU legislation. This was followed by an additional letter of formal notice in November 2009.

However, a recent assessment by the Commission shows that a number of issues remain. These include the non-transposition of the definitions of water services and water use, leaving uncertainty as to the scope of cost-recovery for water services and water use. Although the Danish authorities have adopted new legislation, this will not solve all outstanding issues. The Commission is therefore sending a reasoned opinion. Denmark has two months to respond.


The Water Framework Directive, which came into force in 2000, provides a framework for integrated water management in river basin districts across the European Union. It obliges Member States to protect and restore all bodies of ground water and surface water (rivers, lakes, canals and coastal water) to achieve good status by 2015 at the latest.

For more details on infringement procedures in general, see MEMO/10/605

For current statistics on infringements in general, see:

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