The report compared the quality of bathing water sampled at more than 21,000 coastal and inland bathing sites across the EU, Switzerland and Albania in 2014.
Greece came in fourth for having a high proportion of sites with excellent bathing water quality (97 percent) after Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta and was followed by Croatia (94 percent) and Germany (90 percent).
According to the European Environment Agency, while more than 95 percent of bathing sites met the minimum requirements, 83 percent met the more stringent “excellent” level. Across Europe, only 409 bathing sites, corresponding to less than 2 percent of the total number, were assessed as having “poor” bathing water quality. The highest numbers of bathing sites with poor water quality were found in Italy (107 bathing sites, 2 percent), France (105 bathing sites, 3 percent) and Spain (67 bathing sites, 3 percent).
In comparison, 91 percent of inland bathing waters (lakes and rivers) score at least minimum standards and more than 78 percent have excellent quality. In Luxembourg and Bulgaria, all inland bathing sites were rated excellent followed by Denmark where 95 percent of bathing water lakes had excellent quality. Germany achieved excellent quality at 92 percent of almost 2 000 inland bathing sites.
“It is obvious that clean and safe bathing waters are important for us to stay healthy and the good news is that bathing waters continue to improve”, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said.
“So next time you take a dip, remember that the EU played a part in keeping your bathing water safe and clean!”
The EEA produces this annual report based on data from the previous bathing season, so this year’s report is a compilation of data gathered in summer 2014, indicating the quality of bathing water expected in 2015.