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15.11.2012 The Fitness Check of EU Water Policy has been finalised.  Read more
 
30.03.2012: Final Conclusions of the 2nd Stakeholder Workshop for the Fitness Check of EU Freshwater Policy now available here.

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Fitness Check of EU Freshwater Policy

The Fitness check has now been adopted : The Fitness Check of EU Freshwater Policy (Staff Working Document) – SWD(2012) 393 as of 14/11/2012

As part of its Smart Regulation policy, the European Commission announced in its Work Programme for 2010 that, "to keep current regulation fit for purpose, the Commission will begin reviewing, from this year onwards, the entire body of legislation in selected policy fields through "Fitness Checks". The purpose was to identify excessive burdens, overlaps, gaps, inconsistencies and/or obsolete measures which may have appeared over time. Pilot exercises will start in 2010 in four areas: environment, transport, employment and social policy, and industrial policy." In the area of environment, the protection of EU freshwater resources has been selected as the pilot area.

The Fitness Check is a building block of the Blueprint. Its objective was to assess the effectiveness of the policy measures taken, both in environment policy and in other policy areas, in achieving the objectives already agreed in the context of water policy and identify whether any gap needs to be filled to deliver our environmental objectives more efficiently.

The Fitness Check looked, inter alia, at:

  • any barriers (including in other policy areas) to meeting the already agreed objectives;
  • issues related to implementation and measures that could improve implementability;
  • coherence of the legislation in place and whether there are any overlaps, inconsistencies and/or obsolete measures.  

The Fitness Check is about evaluating the EU Freshwater policy sector, about identifying what works and what does not work - and where things do not work sufficiently well, about suggesting improvements.

The scope of the Fitness Check includes 1) the Water Framework Directive, 2) the Groundwater Directive, 3) the Directive on Environmental Quality Standards (EQS), 4) the Urban Waste Water Directive, 5) the Nitrates Directive and 6) the Floods Directive.

The Fitness Check also looked at quantitative and adaptive water management issues, for which there is currently no legislation at EU level (except for Floods), namely the Communication on Water Scarcity and Drought and its annual follow-up reports, and the Policy paper accompanying the White Paper on Adapting to Climate change On Water, Coasts and Marine Issues.

A preliminary study, undertaken by Deloitte and IEEP, has explored the relevance, coherence, effectiveness and efficiency of the EU freshwater policy. For each challenge, the study has identified categories on which the European institutions could further act in the coming years to improve the fitness of the water policy. The study was based on a literature review and a stakeholder consultation, including a workshop organised in Brussels on 10 May 2011.

These preliminary findings formed the basis for a public consultation that ran from the 6th of December 2011 to the 28th of February 2012. The consultation allowed the European Commission to obtain views and evidence from as wide a range of stakeholders as possible. 

A Stakeholders' workshop was organised on the 9-10 February 2012 in Brussels. Participants were the members of the Strategic Coordination Group of the Common Implementation Strategy of the Water Framework Directive. Read more...

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If you have any questions about the Fitness Check of EU Freshwater Policy or if you have any ideas about how to improve this site, please send us an email to the "Water Fitness Check Mailbox" of Environment DG.