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Marleen van Rijswick and Andrea Keessen

Abstract Climate change exacerbates the challenges that water management has to deal with. This highlights the need for a legal framework that promotes adaptation by addressing the ecological value of water and the risks of flooding and drought. This chapter analyses to what extent the European legal framework meets this need and builds resilience. This chapter uses five criteria to measure this: (1) multilevel governance at the bioregional scale, (2) openness, public participation and access to court, (3) flexibility, (4) adaptiveness of rules and (5) effectiveness. These criteria are partly met. Strengths are the river basin approach and the flexible, multilevel, cyclical and open governance process. Unfortunately, the lack of attention to goal achievement and the differences in approach between Member States detract from the effectiveness of the EU legal framework.