EU Water Policy – fit for purpose?

The future of Europe’s water is under the spotlight leading up to the expected agreement on a new comprehensive Blueprint in 2012. As part of the preparation for this, the Commission is undertaking a Fitness Check to assess the effectiveness of existing laws and identify possible gaps or inconsistencies that need to be dealt with. The first phase of this assessment has just been completed with the help of the consultancy Deloitte and the Institute for European Environment Policy (IEEP).

The report suggests that the policy laid out in the Water Framework Directive is robust and largely coherent with other EU environmental laws. However, implementation remains challenging and makes the achievements of the 2015 targets uncertain. The EU needs to step up action on policy integration, particularly with regard to using water in agriculture and buildings more efficiently. Member States have made only sluggish progress with introducing economic instruments such as water pricing, while the principle of cost-recovery remains controversial.

Please see an opinion article of IEEP’s Axel Volkery in ENDS Europe on this topic.

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