BDEW on the start of the EU Council Presidency of Cyprus:
Focus of the new EU Council Presidency on European water policy
BDEW: EU water policy should pay closer attention to the different regional conditions
Berlin, 2 July 2012 – On 1st July 2012, Cyprus took over the rotating Presidency of the EU Council from Denmark and announced that “water” and „climate change“ will be on top of its agenda of European policy. Particularly the preparations for the European Commission’s new water strategy („Blueprint Water“) are to be ranking among the central topics. A further focus will be on the planned European requirements for priority substances. At the end of January 2012, the European Commission had submitted a proposal for a Directive on priority substances. The aim of this initiative is to continue to reduce the pollution of water bodies by these substances within the European Union.
„With its focus on water policy, the Cyprus Presidency underlines the importance of a safe and high-quality water supply and wastewater disposal in Europe. The European water policy must however pay closer attention to the wide variety of conditions and structures within the EU regions“, Martin Weyand, BDEW General Executive Manager of the Water/Wastewater Division said today in Berlin. „It is not sufficient to focus on a water saving strategy within the framework of „Blueprint Water“. The situation in terms of resources and the use of water differ widely between the European regions. Basically, regionally adjusted regulations should therefore be aimed at in order to take the different needs of countries with drought problems and water shortage and countries with sufficient water resources into consideration.“ The Environment Committee of the European Parliament had also clearly opposed to a generally valid European water saving policy.
In the light of the European discussion on priority substances, Weyand emphasised that the planned adjustment and extension of the list of priority substances was basically reasonable. „Additional substances should however be put on the list only if they are relevant and the inferred environmental quality standards (EQS) are sufficiently reliable. The essential aim should basically be to avoid pollutions at the source of origin of environmental impairments and thus to consistently implement the “polluter pays” principle. “ With regard to drugs, measures had to be taken with indirect dischargers like hospitals and specialised clinics. For many years, the BDEW has advocated legal regulations in this respect.