“I am pleased to see that the overall quality of water in bathing areas is improving throughout the Union,” European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said.
All beaches in the Netherlands met minimum standards for the fourth year running, while Greece and Cyprus also ranked highly.
Some 88.6 percent of EU beaches complied with the tougher guidelines in 2008, up 2.5 percent on 2007.
Cyprus had the highest percentage of bathing waters meeting those highest standards with 98.2 percent, followed by Greece with 97.7 percent and France with 96.3 percent.
Only Belgium and Poland had a greater proportion of non-compliant bathing waters than Britain, 10.3 percent and 14.4 percent respectively, but the situation in both countries was improving rather than worsening.
Elsewhere in Europe, Romania made the biggest improvement with 98 percent compliance, against 20 percent of beaches that missed the grade last year.
Financial Mirror, June 11, 2009