Flood events have the potential to undermine the EU’s drive towards sustainable development and the flood risks are increasing. In response to the severe floods in 2002, the Commission therefore took the initiative to launch concerted action at Community level to help reduce the severity of flood events and the damage caused by these floods.
In the Communication on Flood risk management; Flood prevention, protection and mitigation (COM(2004) 472final of 12.7.2004) the Commission proposed to develop and implement a concerted EU Action Programme on flood risk management. It proposed that the Member States and the Commission shall work together to develop and implement a co-ordinated flood prevention, protection and mitigation action programme.
The issue of flood protection including the Communication were discussed at both the Informal Environment Council on 18 July 2004 and at the Environment Council on 14 October 2004. In October the Council has adopted Conclusions on flood risk management and agreed that based on the Communication, the Member States and the European Commission, in the context of the regular meetings of the EU Water Directors in co-operation with other stakeholders and relevant parties, should prepare the contents of such concerted European action.
The Council invited the Commission to submit an "appropriate proposal taking into account the Council conclusions and the work of the Informal meeting of the Water Directors, preferably before mid 2005".