Tomas Michel, President’s Editorial
Dear Water Europe family,
2021 and the pandemic, continue to move on. So, do luckily also the different vaccination strategies, designed and implemented, albeit in months still to come, for EU citizens to be able to come back to a more normal life, which should mean that the milestone of meeting again in person, which is one of the nice and rewarding characteristics of our platform, is coming closer.
Covid permitting, and for the time being still in full digital format, we are moving ahead with the preparations for the Spring Edition of our Water Knowledge Europe event. On the 2nd of February, we had a great start with the preparatory HEU webinars dedicated to the opportunities for water-related projects under different clusters of the HEU Work Programme that will formally be launched at the beginning of April.
The preparatory webinars will be running until the 12th of March and then the discussion will continue at the WKE2021 main programme where speakers from DG RTD, DG CONNECT, DG ENV, EASME LIFE, COSME etc will be present. The agenda is almost complete and without exaggeration, this is one of the best ever organised programmes, targeted at offering participants a full overview of all the main EU funding programmes for 2021. I hope our members will share this view once WKE2021 is over, and that attendance will be again, as usual, massive.
While all this is going on, and at the same time, our Working Groups are organising their online meetings that will be held from the 15th of March and during the main Water Knowledge Europe 2021 week.
Last week, the MEP Water Group organised a very successful online session on ‘Perspectives and Agenda for Water in the coming years’ with over 800 participants. Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries gave a keynote speech on the role of water for the European Environmental policy. Among the key messages of the discussion was that we need to connect water to other sectors and develop new ways to work together to spread the water agenda. Again, and again, water proves to be everyone’s business.
Having participated in the European Commission’s consultation on Zero Pollution Action Plan, Water Europe contributed to this discussion with its new position paper on Zero Pollution Action Plan: A First step towards a Blue Deal for a Water-Smart Society. In addition to the measures encouraged by Water Europe in its policy-oriented positions on the Water Framework Directive, the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, and the Industrial Emission Directive, the Zero Pollution Action Plan must contribute to mobilise finance for a Water-Smart Europe; tackle the weakness of the water-related legislations; fully master water efficiency and reused challenges by 2050 and accelerate the development of digital water by 2050.
A full year of pandemic is taking already a psychological toll on some. Water Europe has adapted, and has continued the move on, with renewed strength and proposals. I have no doubt we will come out much stronger, and better prepared out of this. I would like to encourage all of you to stay positive, and specially to continue to support WE, as well as participate in our events, taking full advantage of the digital portfolio we have designed for you.
Stay healthy, stay connected…..