1.2 Policy context  

1.2  Policy context  

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) introduced an integrated ecosystem-based approach to managing water which should be at the heart of strategies and approaches adopted to tackle European significant water management issues. The WFD is supported and reinforced by other Directives such as the Environmental Quality Standards Directive and the Groundwater Directive. It is also linked to a number of other EU directives that are relevant to the management and protection of water resources. For example, the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and Industrial Emissions directives aim to reduce pollution from urban centres and large industry, while the Nitrates, Sewage Sludge, or the Sustainable Use of Pesticides directives aim to reduce pressures from diffuse sources, especially from agriculture. In addition, WFD objectives can be further supported by directives relating to the protection of biodiversity (Birds and Habitats Directives) and directives related to specific uses of waters such as drinking water and bathing waters.

Furthermore, the Floods Directive aims to reduce and manage the risk of flood on human health, environment, cultural heritage and economic activity through the implementation of different measures, while the Marine Strategy Framework Directive aims to protect the marine environment with obvious links to the good status objective of the WFD for freshwater and coastal waters.

All these policies build an elaborate set of European environmental policies and standards which provide the framework for planning and implementing measures to address the significant water management issues presented in this report.

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The report also discusses the role of sectoral policies (e.g. agriculture, energy, or transport policies) as well as of broader targets from European strategies (e.g. Biodiversity Strategy) in terms of the measures and management challenges related to European significant water management issues.

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Figure 2             WFD interaction with other EU legislation

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