Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-05-09-Speech-1-085"

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". Mr President, Commissioner, as you will imagine, as a Cypriot I am particularly sensitive on the subject of protecting bathing waters, given that I come from an island. The revenue of my country, with its outstanding beaches, depends to a large extent on tourism, and European tourism in particular, which is demanding when it comes to clean waters, as are Cypriots. A contaminated beach in Cyprus is a serious subject of conversation and concern, and citizens demand that their government maintain and improve the state of the seas on the basis of very strict criteria. The reason why I agree that the new directive should be both strict and feasible is not only so that tourism in Cyprus can be safeguarded. All European citizens have the right to enjoy the waters of Europe, both coastal and inland, to exercise various types of activities without danger of microbiological contamination and, most importantly, they have the right to information as quickly as possible on the state of the waters in which they and their children will be bathing. I see no reason to delay the application of the directive. I believe that the 2011 deadline gives local authorities enough time to make arrangements for the sort of tests they will need to carry out and to develop an appropriate infrastructure. I absolutely agree with the rapporteur that public information is one of the most important elements of the directive. If the objective is to improve and maintain the quality of European bathing waters and protect citizens, I find it hard to understand why the Council does not wish to develop a public information system. I therefore call on you to support the relevant amendments. The first time this directive came into my hands, I wondered why the Commission should content itself with merely good quality waters on the basis of the parameters which it sets. Now the Council wishes to add a parameter of sufficient quality. It appears unacceptable to me that we should end up with even lower microbiological specifications than those set by the Commission. I therefore call on you to vote for the relevant amendments, which delete the new parameter, and for the amendments which make no distinction between inland and coastal waters. Given that no scientific study supporting this view has been presented to Parliament and until such time as substantiated data are presented, I propose that we vote against the distinction. Finally, I agree with the rapporteur that Parliament should stand by its views, especially after the vote in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and I call on you to demonstrate with your vote that European citizens deserve the best possible bathing water."@en1

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