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EU to refer Greece to the Court of Justice for failure to finalise the revision of its water plans

  • EU to refer Greece to the Court of Justice for failure to finalise the revision of its water plans

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European Commission
The European Commission is the EU's executive arm. It takes decisions on the Union's political and strategic direction.

The European Commission decided to refer Greece (INFR(2022)2191) to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to finalise the revision of its river basin management plans as required under the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) and of its flood risk management plans as required under the Floods Directive (Directive 2007/60/EC).

The Water Framework Directive focuses on ensuring the good qualitative and quantitative status of European water bodies, such as rivers and lakes. It aims to reduce and remove pollution, as well as ensure that there is enough water to support at the same time human needs and wildlife. It is an essential part of the European Green Deal and necessary to reach its climate, nature, and pollution reduction targets. Under the Directive, Member States must update and report their river basin management plans every six years. These plans, which include a programme of measures, are key to ensure that all water bodies remain or achieve good status, as required by the Directive. Greece has so far not reviewed, adopted nor reported its river basin management plans.

Compliance with the Floods Directive is critical for preparedness and management of floods. Under the Floods Directive, Member States must also update and report their flood risk management plans every six years. These plans are key to fulfil the objectives of the Floods Directive, that is to reduce and manage the risks that floods pose to human health, the environment, cultural heritage, and economic activity. Greece has so far not reviewed, adopted nor reported its flood risk management plans.

The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Greece in February 2023. This was followed, in November 2023, by a reasoned opinion calling on Greece to comply with its obligations and complete the review of its plans. However, the relevant plans have still not been finalised. The Commission considers that efforts by the Greek authorities have, to date, been insufficient and is therefore referring Greece to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

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