(20 July 2023) Due to climate change, people in Europe experience more and more severe heatwaves, flooding, and scarcity issues. The European Economic and Social Committee encouraged by the Spanish Presidency of the EU, put water issues high on its agenda. The committee of unions, employers and various other interest groups adopted a series of opinions to underpin the demands for an EU Blue Deal and EU Water Agenda 12 July 2023. The six opinions will be used to develop the demands for this EU Blue deal.
The opinion on water poverty, tackling access to water and how it relates to social policy sets out how the right to water and realising it should be the key principle underpinning all EU water policy. Various opinions set out how public management and ownership of water services have delivered positive results and how people are opting for the remunicipalisation of water services. The EESC expresses the need to keep water out of the logic of the internal market and continue to exclude water concessions from the EU Concessions directive.
The Committee expresses the importance of involving the workers including in looking at the longer-term labour market issues, health and safety, skills and decent working conditions. The role of the social partners in the sector is key. The various opinions stress that funding should be available to invest in water infrastructures.
EPSU contributed its expertise to the various hearings and opinions. Our vice-President Thomas Kattnig was rapporteur of the opinion on water infrastructures. The right2water EU Citizens initiative is referenced in several opinions. The right to water is part of realising the European Pillar of Social Rights.
- Water Poverty - Access to water; tackling water poverty and its implications for social policy
- Sustainable and resilient water infrastructures and distribution networks
- The Economics of an EU Blue Deal
- Water intensive industries and water efficient technologies
- Water efficient consumption and consumer awareness about their water footprint
- Sustainable water management and climate emergency – looking at circular economy and other solutions for the EU agriculture and food system