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EU water directors meet in Finnish Lapland to channel European water policies

Publication date 27.11.2006 12.09
Press release -

Water directors from the EU member states are meeting in Saariselkä, in Finnish Lapland this week (30.11-1.12.2006) to discuss how the EU Water Framework Directive will be implemented in different countries, and to exchange their experiences. The directive aims to ensure that Europe's waters will have a "good status" by 2015. In Finland, for instance, the directive has been transposed into a new act on water management, and a related decree that is coincidentally due to be resolved by the Government on the same day as the water directors meeting - 30.11.2006.

The meeting will be chaired by Finland's water director Ulla Kaarikivi-Laine, from the Ministry of the Environment. A delegation from the European Commission includes the head of the water protection unit Peter Gammeltoft. Around 80 water directors and senior officials from EU member states and applicant countries are also due to attend.

The water directors are also expected to approve a set of informal guidelines on joint programmes of action that can help to implement the Water Framework Directive in various member states. They will also discuss the linkages between the directive and other issues including agriculture, navigation and the EU's structural and cohesion funds.

Another important issue on the agenda is the EU's forthcoming marine strategy and a related directive, which ultimately aim to ensure that Europe's marine waters will also achieve a good environmental status by 2015. Finland's ambition is that political agreement on the new directive should be reached during the Finnish EU Presidency's second Environmental Council meeting on 18th December.

The meeting will also address EU legislation on other water issues, including subsidiary directives on groundwater and hazardous chemicals, the Bathing Water Directive and the Flood Directive. The meeting also gives delegates a valuable opportunity to exchange information on other international issues related to inland and marine waters, and on the implications of climate change for water protection policies. The extreme weather conditions experienced in Europe in recent years, including both floods and droughts, will also be discussed.
Interviewee availability

Media representatives are invited to meet Finland's water director, Ulla Kaarikivi-Laine, and the Head of the European Commission's water protection unit Peter Gammeltoft at a special press briefing session.

Breakfast briefing:
Thursday 30th November 2006, 8.15 - 8.50 am
Hotel Riekonlinna,Saariselkä

Media representatives may also arrange personal interviews with other delegates later during the day.

For more details, please contact senior research scientist Marja-Leena Nenonen of the Lapland Regional Environment Centre (Tel. +358 400 338917), or communication officer Leena Salonen of the Finnish Environment Ministry (Tel. +358 50 521 3047). These contacts' e-mail addresses are written: [email protected]

Welcome to Finnish Lapland!