If you are planning to go swimming in Europe this summer you almost cannot go wrong: The annual bathing water report by the European Commission and the Environment Agency shows that 96 % of coastal bathing areas and 90 % of bathing sites in rivers and lakes comply with minimum standards.
The 2009 results confirm a steady improvement trend of the 20 000 areas monitored throughout the EU.
A new Bathing Water Directive emphasises providing information to the public on the quality of bathing areas. The parameters tested included the presence of faecal bacteria.
In recent years, some EU states were warned by Brussels to reinstate and sanitise sites which had been delisted to avoid being tested.
Only 2 % of EU coastal bathing sites were banned in 2009, mostly in Italy.