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Flood-risk management in the EU

Floods are a threat to human health, cultural heritage, the economy and the environment. Here, the EU establishes a framework for assessing, mapping and planning for the reduction of the risk of floods in Europe.


Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks.



This directive aims to establish a framework for measures to reduce the risk of floods in the EU by assessing the risk of flooding in river basins and coastal regions, mapping out areas that are prone to significant floods and drawing up flood-risk management plans based on close cooperation between the EU countries.


  • This directive requires EU countries to assess the risk of flooding in coastal regions and river basins by collecting information on those areas, such as past flood history and maps showing borders, land use and topography, and determining the likelihood of future significant floods and their consequences. First published by 22 December 2011, these assessments will be reviewed by 22 December 2018 and then reviewed every 6 years thereafter.
  • EU countries must also produce maps that identify areas prone to significant flood risks and indicate scenarios (based on high, medium or low probability) of a flood occurring there. First published by 22 December 2013, these maps must be reviewed every 6 years.
  • EU countries must also establish flood-risk management plans that are coordinated at the level of the river basin or coastal districts. These plans establish objectives for the management of flood risks, focusing mainly on prevention (e.g. avoiding construction in areas that may flood), protection (measures to reduce the likelihood of floods in a specific place) and preparedness (informing the public about flood risks and what do to in the event of flooding). These plans must be completed by 22 December 2015 and are also to be reviewed every 6 years.
  • Both the flood-risk maps and the management plans are coordinated with the water framework directive (WFD). The implementation of the WFD, this directive and other water-related directives is guided by the common implementation strategy, which also aims to integrate water policies with other policies in the EU, such as agriculture, transport or research and regional development.


Although floods are natural phenomena that cannot be fully prevented, human activity is increasing their likelihood and impact. The risk of flooding and the scale of damage will increase in the future, as a result of climate change, inappropriate river management, construction in flood risk areas and the increase in people and property in these areas.

Considering that most of the river basins in Europe are shared between countries, action is more effective at the EU level, since this allows better risk assessment and the coordination of measures taken by the EU countries.

For more information, see the European Commission’s website on the EU floods directive.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2007/60/EC



OJ L 288, 6.11.2007, pp. 27-34

last update 22.04.2015