The European Union is currently thoroughly restructuring its water policy. A proposal by the European Commission for a Water Framework Directive is currently being negotiated at the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. This legislation will have the following main objectives:

• expanding the scope of water protection to all waters, surface waters and groundwater

• achieving “good status” for all waters by a certain deadline

• water management based on river basins

• “combined approach” of emission limit values and quality standards

• getting the prices right

• getting the citizen involved more closely

• streamlining legislation

The progress on negotiating the future European water legislation seems to indicate a final adoption in 1999.

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