The world’s leading conservation organisation, WWF, has called on the European Union to save Europe’s rivers, lakes and wetlands, and for a full implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD).

The group issued its statement as EU member states, the European Commission and other stakeholders gathered in Vienna on September 20-21 for the annual EU Water Conference.

According to a WWF press release, it is clear that the current EU water law is ambitious and effective. This is why WWF said it is “disheartened” by member states’ lack of political will to make it work on the ground.

An amendment to the law would simply allow member states to side-step their legal obligation to bring all European waters into good condition by 2027 at the latest and to protect them from deterioration.

“A weakening of the legislation would be a declaration of bankruptcy of European environmental policy,” said Martina Mlinaric, Senior Water Policy Officer at WWF’s European Policy Office. “Having missed the original objective of bringing all European waters to good health by 2015, member states are now feeling the pressure, but, instead of doubling their efforts, many governments are now desperately searching for an easy way out of their commitments and are using the fitness check process to achieve that.”