Laying down criteria and methodological standards on good environmental status of marine waters and specifications and standardised methods for monitoring and assessment, and repealing Decision 2010/477/EU
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Having regard to Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive) (1), and in particular Articles 9(3) and 11(4) thereof, Whereas: (1) Commission Decision 2010/477/EU (2) established criteria to be used by the Member States to determine the good environmental status of their marine waters and to guide their assessments of that status in the first implementation cycle of Directive 2008/56/EC. (2) Decision 2010/477/EU acknowledged that additional scientific and technical progress was required to support the development or revision of those criteria for some qualitative descriptors, as well as further development of methodological standards in close coordination with the establishment of monitoring programmes. In addition, that Decision stated that it would be appropriate to carry out its revision as soon as possible after the completion of the assessment required under Article 12 of Directive 2008/56/EC, in time to support a successful update of marine strategies that are due by 2018, pursuant to Article 17 of Directive 2008/56/EC. (3) In 2012, on the basis of the initial assessment of their marine waters made pursuant to Article 8(1) of Directive 2008/56/EC, Member States reported on the environmental status of their marine waters and notified to the Commission their determination of good environmental status and their environmental targets in accordance with Articles 9(2) and 10(2) of Directive 2008/56/EC, respectively. The Commission’s assessment (3) of those Member State reports, undertaken in accordance with Article 12 of Directive 2008/56/EC, highlighted that more efforts were urgently needed if Member States are to reach good environmental status by 2020. The results showed the necessity to significantly improve the quality and coherence of the determination of good environmental status by the Member States. In addition, the assessment recognised that regional cooperation must be at the very heart of the implementation of Directive 2008/56/EC. It also emphasised the need for Member States to more systematically build upon standards stemming from Union legislation or, where they do not exist, upon standards set by Regional Sea Conventions or other international agreements. (4) To ensure that the second cycle of implementation of the marine strategies of the Member States further contributes to the achievement of the objectives of Directive 2008/56/EC and yields more consistent determinations of good environmental status, the Commission recommended in its report on the first phase of implementation that, at Union level, the Commission services and Member States collaborate to revise, strengthen and improve Decision 2010/477/EU, aiming at a clearer, simpler, more concise, more coherent and comparable set of good environmental status criteria and methodological standards and, at the same time, review Annex III of Directive 2008/56/EC, and if necessary revise it, and develop specific guidance to ensure a more coherent and consistent approach for assessments in the next implementation cycle. (5) On the basis of those conclusions, the review process started in 2013 when a roadmap, consisting of several phases (technical and scientific, consultation, and decision-making), was endorsed by the Regulatory Committee established under Article 25(1) of Directive 2008/56/EC. During this process, the Commission consulted all interested parties, including Regional Sea Conventions….
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