The quality of Europe’s bathing water remains high, according to this year’s European bathing water quality assessment published today. Just under 85% of swimming sites across Europe monitored in 2019 met the European Union’s highest and most stringent ‘excellent’ quality standards.
A country-by-country breakdown showed that in five nations — Cyprus, Austria, Malta, Greece, and Croatia — at least 95 percent of bathing waters were of excellent quality. Of all the countries monitored, Poland was the only one with less than 50 percent of its bathing waters rated as excellent.
Almost all of the 22,295 bathing water sites monitored last year across Europe (of which 21,981 were in the then 28 Member State EU including the United Kingdom) met the minimum quality requirements according to the briefing. Albania and Switzerland also monitored and reported on the quality of their bathing water sites and their data are included in the assessment.
The results published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission give a good indication where swimmers can find the best quality bathing waters. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak and restrictive measures put in place across Europe, members of the public are advised to seek updated information from local and national authorities and beach operators about safety measures at bathing sites. To help Member States gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen, after months of lockdown, while respecting necessary health precautions the Commission presented on 13 May a package of guidelines and recommendations.
Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner in charge of the Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, said, “Clean bathing water is usually taken as something that is gifted, but it’s actually one of the European collective achievements. It’s the result of hard work by many people over many years. This year’s report once again confirms that European citizens can continue to enjoy very high quality standards when bathing in European waters and all measures must be taken to continue along this path.”