In order for a beach to be nominated for the "Blue Flag" it must be an officially designated as a bathing area. It is mandatory that an official sampling point (Greek Water Profiles Registry of the Special Secretariat for Water of the Ministry of Environment and Energy. http://www.bathingwaterprofiles.gr) exists within the proposed area. The beach must also have the infrastructure and provide to users the services required by the criteria of the Programme.
Bathing water quality evaluation
Sampling and microbiological analysis are carried out under the responsibility of the Special Secretariat of Water of the Ministry for the Environment and Energy, as defined in Article 4 and Annex I of Directive 2006/7/EC. The analysis results are posted on the Special Secretariat for Water website (http://www.bathingwaterprofiles.gr), updated on a monthly basis and the managers are required to post the results for their beach on the Blue Flag notice board. The samples may not be farther apart than 30 calendar days.
First-time participation in the Programme - "applicant beach/marina/SBTO”
Compliance with all the criteria for one bathing season is mandatory. For first-time applicants, the bathing season is the nomination period. During that period the beach is organized in accordance with the criteria of the Programme regarding the infrastructure and services. As with the awarded sites, the Programme auditors make a control visit to determine whether the criteria have been met and the National Operator provides technical advice to achieve full compliance with the criteria.
Submission of application and award
HSPN as National Operator provides instructions and support to complete the application. Applications are reviewed and the results are forwarded to the National Jury (NJ) comprised of representatives of the competent Ministries and Authorities and other relevant bodies. The NJ examines the recommendation and forwards its proposal to the International Jury, based in Denmark.
The International Jury then examines recommendations and decides which of the nominated beaches and marinas of each country it will award the Blue Flag to, for each award period.
The International Coordinator and the National Operator reserve the right to refuse or withdraw the award of any beach where the management infringes on the national environmental legislation and/or regulations or otherwise acts contrary to the objectives and the spirit of the "Blue Flag" programme.
Auditing during the Blue Flag period
The awarded site is subject to inspections by the International Coordinator and the National Operator with or without notice, as clearly stated in the international and national guidelines.
Non-compliance and withdrawal of a Blue Flag
If an awarded site does not comply with the criteria of the program, the flag may be withdrawn permanently or temporarily. There are several classifications of non-compliance:
- Minor failure to comply refers to cases where one criterion is not met, without serious consequences on the health and safety of bathers or the environment. When the problem can be remedied immediately, the flag is not withdrawn. If, however, it cannot be corrected immediately, the manager is granted a 10-day period to comply, during which the flag is temporarily withdrawn.
- In cases of multiple non-compliances, but with minor impact on the health and safety of bathers or the environment, the manager is granted a 10-day period to comply, during which the flag is temporarily withdrawn.
- In cases of significant non-compliance, where one or more criteria are not met, and they affect the health and safety of bathers or the environment, as well as the general appearance of the beach and, therefore, the Programme, the flag is immediately withdrawn for the remainder of the bathing season.
The national and international Programme websites are updated and the withdrawal of the award is communicated on the information board of the site.