The European Commission on Monday said the water at 20 of Germany's 350 ocean beaches – 5.7 percent of the total – was of poor quality in 2007. That was up from only 1.1 percent in the year before. Germany's 1,589 fresh water bathing spots fared only slightly better – 4.2 percent fell below EU standards.
EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas criticized EU countries for simply removing bathing spots with poor water quality from the survey list. “It's easy to improve the results by taking spots off the list,” he said, explaining that the EU opened legal proceedings against 11 EU members including Germany.
In the mid 1990s nearly 440 German ocean beaches were included in the study – some 90 fewer than last year.
Looking at water quality throughout Europe, Dimas said overall the situation had worsened slightly. But with only 0.4 and 0.9 percent of their beaches below standard, popular holiday destinations for beach holidays like Italy and Spain had far lower rates of subpar water quality than Germany.