EurEau newsletter - edition 26 - June 2018
Our experts on Economic and Legal affairs met in Oslo thanks to Norsk Vann, our Norwegian member. They could discuss the Critical infrastructure Directive, the Drinking Water Directive, Reuse of Public Sector Information Directive, Investments in infrastructure, Governance and the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. Thank you again to our Norsk Vann for the great organisation.
The Drinking Water Directive discussed in the ENVI Committee of the European Parliament
The ENVI Committee of the European Parliament held a debate on the report by MEP Michel Dantin (EPP/France) on the DWD on 7 June. You can read more on the EUmatters blog.
The Environment Council policy debate on the Drinking Water Directive
The Ministers of the Environment met on the 25 June to give political guidance on two main topics concerning the DWD under discussion in the Council: art.13 on access to water and the issue of ‘materials and products in contact with drinking water’. Look at what Ministers said via the EUmatters blog!
Single Use Plastics Directive: Commission calls for measures on wet wipes
As a follow up to the EU Plastics Strategy, the Commission proposed a directive on the “Reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment”, essentially covering single-use plastics and fishing gear. The proposal and the impact assessment are available here.
The directive introduces extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes (including for cleaning up litter), labeling and awareness-raising measures for wet wipes.
The European Parliament wants to adopt the directive by spring 2019.
Regulation on minimum quality requirements for water reuse
Major piece for water in the circular economy package, the Commission proposed a regulation “on minimum requirements for water reuse” focused on irrigation in agriculture. The proposal and the impact assessment are available here.
The regulation proposes for the first time common criteria for irrigation in agriculture when using reclaimed water (treated wastewater receiving extra treatment in the view of reusing it). The requirements are focused on protecting human health and the Environment. It defines also the different task that a proper risk assessment should take into account for developing a water reuse project.
EurEau supports the initiative and is currently analysing the text in order to have a final text that operators can work with.
Horizon Europe: more money for research and innovation
After Horizon 2020, the European Commission increased the budget reserved for innovation on the period 2021-2027 with a global budget of 94,1 billion euros. The proposal can be found here. The Pillar II is regrouping five clusters (Health; Inclusive and secure society; digital and industry; climate, energy and mobility and food and natural resources) where water-related innovation can find its place. A new instrument has been introduced: the missions, defined as “a portfolio of actions intended to achieve a measurable goal within a set timeframe, and impact for science and technology and/or society and citizens that could not be achieved through individual actions”.
Materials and products in contact with drinking water
MEP Florenz (EPP/Germany) and the German Environment Agency (UBA) organised a breakfast meeting on the materials and products in contact with drinking water. Representatives of the European Commission, Permanent Representation attachés, Members of the European Parliament, and stakeholders from industry and water services exchanged their ideas on how this important issue should be regulated. You can find the presentations and the summary report of the meeting on the EurEau intranet.
Regulation on medicated feed: Antibiotic feed largely banned
The European Parliament and the Council agreed on new rules to limit the spread of antimicrobial resistance. The new Regulation on medicated feed prohibits farmers from feeding antibiotics to groups of healthy animals. Treating a whole group of animals when only one is infected will be possible provided there is a substantial risk of spreading the infection and there is no appropriate alternative.
This follows the agreement on veterinary medicinal products which applied a similar approach.
Fertiliser Regulation still blocked in the trilogue
The key objective of revising the Fertiliser Regulation is to include organic materials or recovered products from organic materials (from sewage sludge for example) in the cope of the regulation. After several months of 'trilogue' negotiations, MEPs and the EU Council still disagree on a possible compromise text with the key stumbling block being the maximum permissible level of cadmium content. Member States oppose a cadmium limit below 60mg/kg of fertiliser. No compromise is in sight.
ECJ: Germany breached EU Nitrate Directive (Case c-543/16)
As expected the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled at 21.06.2018 against Germany because it failed to take action against the excessive use of manure as a fertiliser and therefore violated binding provisions of EU’s Nitrates Directive 91/676/EEC. The ruling is published here (German / French only)
Germany amended the national provisions on the use of manure last autumn. Nevertheless it has to comply with the Court decision – meaning taking action against excessive use of manure - or face a second infringement procedure from the European Commission. This infringement procedure may result in a second Court ruling imposing Germany to pay fines, if it is found to still be in breach of EU law (see Euractiv from 21.06.2018).
Priority Substances Directive: Watch List updated
We are pleased to announce that the Decision updating the Watch List has now been adopted by the Commission and published. It was notified on 6 June to the national Permanent Representations. The Decision is available at the following link:
The three newly added substances are: amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, metaflumizone.
Water Framework Directive post 2027
The Water Directors discussed in Sofia the implementation of the WFD and considered various scenarios for the period beyond 2027. Some Member States started a working group reflecting on three alternative options as you can read here.
The European Commission held a presentation on the review of water policy, while the EEA gave a hint about the upcoming report on the status of European Waters, to be launched on the 3 July. Bulgaria shared their experience in implementing the WFD.
Post 2027 WFD and the EEAC
The European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC) are also working on the future of the WFD. They reflected on the reasons why the good status was not reached in 2015 along three main lines:
- Explanation 1: more time and/or more money is needed
- Explanation 2: economic thinking not yet at heart of water policy
- Explanation 3: systems thinking not yet at heart of water policy
Read the draft report at: http://eeac.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/180620-EEAC-exploratory-note-water-policy-vs2-prelim-EN.pdf
Pharmaceuticals in the environment: EU strategy delayed again
The publication of this communication, which has been stuck since 2015, seems to delayed further. The European Commission cites heavy workload as the main reason.
While the strategy is not expected to firmly announce legislation, it will indicate areas where the Commission will assess the impact of legislative measures. At present, pharmaceutical active substances are excluded from the EU’s environmental legislation.
A group of NGO’s has launched another call on the Commission to release the strategy without further delay.
Waste policy: Circular economy package to come into force in July
After three years of discussion, the new EU waste laws have finally been agreed and published. The packed consists of the directives on waste, the landfill of waste, end of life vehicles and batteries, and packaging. They aim to promote recycling while minimising landfill. The directive on waste contains minimum requirements for extended producer responsibility.
Public Utilities Conference in September 2018 in Podcetrtek, Slovenia
The Slovenian Chamber of Public Utilities will host its eighth Public Utilities Conference on 21-22 September 2018 in Podcetrtek, Slovenia. The conference will bring together national and local authorities, public utility companies and other experts to discuss quality management and optimisation of services in the public utility sector. EurEau’s Secretary General Oliver Loebel will join the conference as a keynote speaker to highlight EurEau’s view on EU legislation with influence on drinking water supply and wastewater management.
More information on the conference (in Slovenian) can be found here: https://konferenca-komunala.gzs.si/ .
The next EurEau meetings are:
11 September 2018: Executive Committee meets in Bucharest.
6-9 November 2018: EurEau Congress 2018 in Limassol, Cyprus.
15 November 2018: Executive Committee WebEx.
16-21 September - IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018, Tokyo. EurEau co-organises a session on the circular economy.
20-21 September - EU Water Conference will take place in Vienna. It will be a big event, co-organised by the European Commission and the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Draft programme and more details. Registration.
21-22 September - Public Utilities Conference in Podcetrtek, Slovenia. The EurEau’s Oliver Loebel will give several presentations.
7 November - Young Water Leaders first global event, Berlin (InterContinental Hotel) http://www.ourfuturewater.com/berlin/
You can see a list of events happening around Europe here.