The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) constitutes a milestone for the protection of aquatic ecosystems. With respect to the challenging objectives of the WFD and the connected financial burdens, which may possibly exceed the capabilities of some regions, it is essential to establish a targeted and integrated view of the economic aspects, which are applicable within the implementation process of the WFD. This is necessary to provide for a sustainable and acceptable implementation of the WFD with regard to the affected parties. However up to now there are many undefined legal concepts and few specific procedural developments, which often do not correspond to the required interdisciplinary and practical approach but are based on complex scientific methods. Hence the purpose of the present article should consist in providing an approach for the integration of the different economic aspects of the WFD in the establishment of the programme of measures and for the concretisation of the river basin specific environmental objectives to be reached.