The Council includes water in its priorities of the new commission 2024-2029 in extremis


On the 27th of June, the Council adopted its conclusions on the strategic agenda 2024-2029, highlighting the unprecedented challenges of the last five years. Water has been added in extremis to the text as a driver to achieve a prosperous and competitive Europe. The text refers to water in two ways:

-To make the green and digital transition successful, the text stresses the necessity to invest in ample cross-border infrastructure for water, in addition to energy and communications.

-To promote a competitive, sustainable, and resilient agricultural sector that continues to ensure food security and protect ecosystems, the EU needs to strengthen its resilience in water across the Union.

Water Europe welcomes these conclusions as they emphasize the vital role of water in enhancing European economic competitiveness. Water Europe has actively advocated during the last months for the recognition of the socio-economic value of water (cf. Water Innovation Europe 2024: This will contribute to several benefits:

-Mitigation of climatological events and avoiding costs: In the EU, in 2022, meteorological events (i.e., storms) were responsible for around €8 billion of economic damages, and hydrological events (i.e., floods and mass movements) for around €3 billion. Droughts are estimated to contribute to economic damages in the order of €2-9 billion annually.

-Ecosystem services: If 70% of EU waterbodies reach “good” status, this can lead to benefits worth €11 billion per year.

-Boosting economic competitiveness and creating green jobs.

Reminding the RewaterEU ( initiative of Portugal, these new conclusions complemented the statement on the environmental dimension reached by the Council on Monday the 17th of June in its conclusions on the mid-term review of the 8th environment action programme. These conclusions stressed ‘the important regulating role of water cycles for ecosystems, human life, and the functioning of the economy and our society.’

With these new conclusions, the Council joins the calls of the three other European institutions for an EU Blue Deal, putting more pressure on the European Commission to deliver the Water Resilience Initiative with an ambitious and comprehensive water-smart action plan for Europe.


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