The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), agreed by EU governments in 2000, is a holistic piece of legislation that aims to achieve good status of Europe’s freshwater bodies by 2027 at the latest. It requires the protection, enhancement and restoration of our rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, and transitional and coastal waters, to ensure no deterioration, and to achieve good status, where the benefits of doing so exceed the cost. To achieve these goals, efforts and resources for better implementation and enforcement of the WFD will have to be significantly stepped up. Currently, Member States show little ambition. However, where political will exists, the WFD provides an effective framework for addressing the main pressures facing freshwater ecosystems.