Spain threatened with fines over bathing water

Commission to ask European Court for repeat ruling against Madrid over inland waters

The European Commission is to ask the European Court of Justice to impose a daily fine of euros 45,600 on Spain until it complies with the EU bathing water directive for its inland waters, it announced today. The decision follows its assessment that Spain has failed to act on a 1998 ECJ judgement that it had breached the directive.

Environment commissioner Margot Wallström hinted at the move on Monday when she presented EU bathing water results for the 2000 season. These showed that only 79.2% of Spain's 202 freshwater bathing sites met minimum EU quality standards, against an EU average of 93.6%. Plans to invest euros 63 million in improving water quality at the failing sites were "positive" but not sufficient to defer court action, the Commission said today.

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