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Water in Europe’s most popular tourist destinations failing EU standards

Water in Europe’s most popular tourist destinations failing EU standards

Some of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations are failing EU water laws, new research shows.

As millions of people plan their summer holidays, Pisa in Italy, parts of Halkidiki in Greece, Balaton in Hungary and Ayia Napa in Cyprus have been identified as among 6,311 European towns and cities which are not meeting the EU’s environmental standards.

Popular city break destinations such as Bucharest (Romania), Sofia (Bulgaria), Madrid (Spain), Budapest (Hungary) and Rome (Italy) have also been revealed as having sub-standard water.

Even Brussels itself, the home of the EU, is failing the required tests.

Particularly worrying for the European tourist industry are the failures in Spain, Italy and Greece, which are some of the most frequently visited destinations for holidaymakers throughout Europe.


Experts said these water failures could put the health of millions of people at risk should and render European taxpayers liable for fines of over €1 billion a year in total.

The UK was among the countries which were fully compliant with the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, a piece of legislation which came out in the 1990s to improve water standards, that applies to the collection, treatment and discharge of domestic and industrial waste water.

Some MEPs and experts are campaigning for improvements to water infrastructure around Europe through the EU Cohesion Fund, which was set up in 1994 to provide funding for environmental and infrastructure projects. Decisions on its latest round of spending are expected within months.

Victor Bostinaru, a Romanian MEP, who presented the findings in Brussels, said: “This report demonstrates the scale of the problem that exists across the 27 EU member states. The quality of water in many countries has to improve and the money needs to be found to make it happen – starting with the city of Brussels, in which the European Union’s institutions are based.

“As we prepare to commit billions of euros of investment to infrastructure projects, through the EU Cohesion Fund, we must demand improvements from these failing cities, regions and countries.”

Hach Lange, one of the world’s leading providers of instrumentation for water quality testing and treatment optimisation, considered the results as leading analytical experts on European water.

Lance Reisman, President of Hach Lange, said: “Clearly some parts of Europe have issues that need addressing, however the good news is that solutions are readily available.

“Our experience in working across Europe has proven that investment reaps significant benefits.”

The worst five country offenders are:
Romania: 2,476 failures
Spain: 1,148
Bulgaria: 901
Hungary: 631
Italy: 443