THE European Environment Agency yesterday praised the Balearics for having significantly improved the quality of its beaches and bathing water since the year 2000.

Publishing its annual report for 2008, it states that over the past eight years, standards have improved on an annual basis in the Balearics - while in other parts of Spain, standards have apparently fallen. EU beach inspectors spend all summer visiting beaches across the European Union and, for the most part, beaches meet the strict EU community hygiene and health requisites - 96 percent to be exact.

However, a new directive has been introduced and all member states have until 2015 to fully comply with the new normatives.
This year, the Balearics was awarded a record number of Blue Flags for beach and bathing water quality, service standards and environmental education by the voluntary Blue Flag Foundation.

Further recognition of the huge effort the region is making to make sure its beaches are in excellent condition for the benefits of the users and the environment.