Every summer millions of Europeans head for the beach to enjoy the sun and to cool down in refreshing clean water. To allow Europeans to make an informed choice on which beach to choose a yearly report is published on the quality of coastal and freshwater bathing areas as reported by Member States for the beaches located within their territory. This year the report is being published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), which is also making available on its website maps and tables with detailed information on specific bathing areas. As well as all the 27 Member States of the European Union, this year's report covers for the first time Croatia and Switzerland.
The overall quality of bathing waters in the EU has markedly improved since 1990. Compliance with mandatory values (minimum quality requirements) increased over the 1990 to 2008 period from 80% to more than 95% and from 52% to almost 90% in coastal and inland waters respectively. However, from 2008 to 2009 there was a slight deterioration in the number of bathing waters meeting minimum standards both for coastal and inland waters.
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