Eutrophication is one of the main descriptors in the MFSD. Over the last decades nutrient loadings to most European marine systems have decreased significantly and we have seen some improvements, primarily reduced nutrient concentrations. Significant improvements in the biological structure and function still remain to be seen. We present a conceptual model for the response of coastal marine ecosystems to reduced nutrient loadings and discuss the implications for implementation of MSFD. We will demonstrate that a number of processes delay or prevent the return of marine ecosystem to good ecological status once they are heavily degraded by eutrophication and important ecosystem services are lost. The implication is that improvements cannot be expected before nutrient loadings have been reduced to levels there might be considerably lower than the loadings where damages to marine ecosystems occurred. Another consequence is that a time delay of maybe 20 to 30 years might be expected from loadings are reduced and until the biological structure is reestablished.