Blue Deal in the EU – EESC calls for implementation of the Blue Deal!

Blue Deal

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted an official recommendation for the implementation of a comprehensive water strategy in the EU called the Blue Deal/EU Blue Deal. He also called on all European institutions to make water issues a priority in the 2024-2029 term.

Blue Deal according to the European Economic and Social Committee

During the two-day session and the accompanying special conference “Call for an EU Blue Deal,” the EESC presented its position on the need for a new water strategy for Europe. It presented the results of the work launched in early 2023, the so-called “ umbrella opinion,” a collective recommendation for comprehensive changes in European water management. It contains 32 recommendations covering a wide range of issues: from fighting water poverty and conserving resources, to water consumption by households, agriculture and industry, proposals for financing water investments and developing water and sanitation infrastructure, to education and water-efficient technologies.

The EESC recommended, among other things. Establishment of the Blue Transformation Fund (a special operational program for water management and integrated territorial investments) and prioritization by member states of investments in water management, supporting innovative technologies to increase the use of gray water, treated wastewater and small-scale treatment plants. In addition to this, he also proposed the adoption of a coherent EU mechanism to regulate water storage during rainy periods; the extension of producer responsibility to wastewater management; the collection in one place and analysis of data on underground sewage systems across the EU; and the renovation of networks in areas with scarce resources, especially in rural areas.

Europeans notice the problem

As the EESC experts stressed, water scarcity is a serious problem not only in the world, but also in the EU. It has already been experienced by 60 percent. European cities and the problem is expected to intensify in the coming decades. Last year, the Old Continent was hit by the most severe droughts in 500 years, and floods and fires are increasingly common. Europeans also have reservations about the quality and quantity of water, with nearly two-thirds of EU residents believing they are a problem in their countries.

Water management is a global challenge, but it also affects Europe, which is already suffering from a water crisis. Its effects are not only being felt in Mediterranean countries. We have water shortages and increasingly prolonged droughts in various regions. The problem cannot be dealt with by individual countries alone, and we need to coordinate action on a European scale -. stressed Oliver Röpke, president of the EESC. – The EU’s current water framework is not in line with today’s challenges. We need to learn from our mistakes and water issues should be put on the EU agenda as a separate EU policy with its own commissioner. It is necessary to ensure that the Green Deal interacts with the Blue Deal.

Blue Deal
Blue Deal in the EU - EESC calls for implementation of the Blue Deal! 1

Blue Deal – experts and investments

The adoption of the opinion and call for the implementation of the EU Blue Deal brought together a group of key water-related experts representing the EESC, the EC, the UN and European and international organizations. Among them were. Pietro de Lotto – chairman of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Environment. of the EESC’s industrial transformation, Virginijus Sinkevičius – EU Commissioner for Industry. Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Pernille Weiss – head of the Water Group in the European Parliament, Mariana Mazzucato – co-chair of the World Commission on the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. Water Management to the OECD, Pedro Arrojo-Agudo – UN Special Rapporteur on Water. water and sanitation rights, and Bernard Van Nuffel – president of Aqua Publica Europea.

According to estimates, the value of EU Blue Deal projects is more than 390 billion euros. They are to include investments in retention, development and modernization of water and sewage networks, wastewater treatment plants, dissemination of closed-loop technologies, efficient water management by energy, agriculture and industry.

Poland’s role in the implementation of the Blue Deal

Satisfaction and hopes related to the announcement of the call for the implementation of the EU Blue Deal were not concealed by Marek Kowalski – chairman of the Federation of Polish Entrepreneurs, who is also the initiator of the Committee for the Implementation of the EU Blue Deal, established within the FPP. water.

The water crisis in Europe is a fact, and I am glad that the EESC has recognized it by coming out with the Blue Deal initiative. I hope that it will receive an appropriate response from European institutions. The needs are great, because water is a resource that cannot be replaced. It is ubiquitous in the economy, and its shortages mean serious problems for companies and residents. In the case of Poland, the Blue Deal is a huge opportunity. It means additional funding, and besides, we can become a water “hub” and develop new technological solutions, such as measuring water savings. This is a space for Polish science and business to join the European leaders in water management -. he stated.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is an EU advisory body representing organizations of workers, employers and other groups (such as farmers and consumers). It issues opinions in the nature of guidelines for subsequent legislation, which go to the European Commission, the EU Council and the European Parliament. Its members are nominated by the governments of each member country for a five-year term.

Source: FPP press release
Photo author: Marta Saracyn

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