- Freshwater ecosystems in Europe are rich in biodiversity but at risk. They provide essential ecosystem services to humans, such as cleaning water, preventing floods, producing food, providing energy and regulating freshwater resources.
- Numerous pressures affect European freshwater ecosystems. Biodiversity has suffered from pollution and degraded water quality. In addition many inland waters endure too little water (water scarcity and drought), too much water (floods), and modification by artificial structures. As a result, freshwater biodiversity is at risk.
- Restoring and preserving natural freshwater ecosystems has multiple benefits and should be encouraged. It requires close coordination between nature protection, water uses, energy production and spatial planning.
- Europe has taken action to improve freshwater ecosystem quality but achieving good ecological status by 2015 will require that synergies are found between nature conservation policies and sectoral policies, with special focus on restoring many water regimes.