EurEau newsletter - edition 35 - April 2019
EurEau manifesto for the European Parliament elections
In advance of the European Parliament elections at the end of May, we launched our manifesto on April 29, highlighting what we want MEPs to advocate for during their mandate.
The manifesto is here and on our social media. It is available in Danish, Estonian, French, Irish, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian and Swedish. German and Greek versions are coming soon!
EurEau welcomes Svenskt Vatten delegation in Brussels
Drinking water experts from Svenskt Vatten’s members visited the EurEau Secretariat on the 11 April to learn more about the political and regulatory landscape of Brussels and the EU institutions. The discussion on the current negotiations on the Drinking Water Directive was the highlight of the meeting.
EurEau General Assembly meeting – Bonn; May 2019
The EurEau General Assembly will hold its Spring 2019 meeting in Bonn on 23-24 May. Part of this meeting will be dedicated to electing a new EurEau president and committee chairs. Nominations closed in April.
Drinking Water Directive: new ENVI rapporteur appointed
The European Parliament Environment Committee officially appointed Mr Christophe Hansen (EPP/Luxembourg) as its new rapporteur on the Drinking Water Directive. Mr Hansen will take over the role of Michel Dantin and comes with years of experience working on environmental topics within the Parliament and the Council. We wish him all the best for the important negotiations ahead and we thank MEP Dantin for all his great efforts in the European Parliament to keep drinking water safe and affordable!
CAP: Member States divided over green requirements
The April Agriculture Council saw general agreement on the Commission’s proposal to dedicate 30% of the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development to climate and environmental action.
However, countries such as Austria, Finland, Italy and Poland were against the obligation for Member States to set up eco-schemes whereas others including France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain were in favour.
Belgium, Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia were among the countries opposing the mandatory use of the farm sustainability tool for nutrients.
The Romanian Council presidency still intends to conclude a partial general approach to the CAP reform by the end of its presidency in June 2019.
European Parliament calls for an end to endocrine disrupting chemicals
The European Parliament vote on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) comes in response to the proposed European Commission framework on EDCs and sets out priorities for actions. In particular, the EP calls on the next Commission to propose a concrete action plan and legislative proposals to remove EDCs from cosmetics, toys and food packaging by June 2020.
EurEau has called for action from the EU legislators for many years, as EDCs can enter water resources. We want to see more use of the Control at Source Principle, as set out in the EU Treaties, which would legislate for preventing these chemicals from entering the environment in the first place.
Our position on micropollutants and the control at source approach is here.
The provisional EP version of the text is here.
Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: Commission hosts workshop
Together with the Dutch water directorate, DG Environment is organising a workshop on to compare existing approaches, identify commonalities and possible priorities for effective steps to address Strategic Approach to Pharmaceutical in the Environment.
The workshop takes place on 13 May 2019 (Brussels). Michaël Bentvelsen, chair of the EurEau JWG Pollutants will speak on behalf of Europe’s water operators.
ECHA Public Consultation: GenX Chemicals
The dossier to identify GenX as a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) under REACH was available for public consultation until April 29. The dossier seeks to identify the substance as a probable serious concern to the environment, as well as a probable serious concern to human health. It can take months until a final decision is adopted.
ECHA Public Consultation: Microplastics
The public consultation to restrict intentionally added (primary) microplastics under REACH opened in March. The first deadline for comments was yesterday (May 5) while the final deadline is September 20.
On 17 April, the European Parliament supported the proposal for Horizon Europe, the research and innovation programme for 2021-2027 period. If the multiannual financial framework programme is adopted, the total amount available for research and innovation would be €100 billion.
New in Horizon Europe (compared to Horizon 2020) is the inclusion of missions to address specific topics requiring results in a short term and focus on results delivery.
The Working Parties of the Environmental Council met on 17 April to discuss the European Commission’s proposal on water reuse. The Romanian presidency continues to work hard on this important file with Member States to obtain a general approach for the end of June.
Sustainable Europe 2030 Conference
The European Commission internal think-tank, the European Political Strategy Centre, organised a conference on the SDGs (the UN’s Sustainable development Goals) in order to discuss how to go from the goals to delivering them.
It is becoming evident that the SDGs will be the overarching policy framework that will guide the action of the next European Commission. This conference reflected particularly on how innovation and new technologies may help in delivering the SDGs, especially looking at the circular economy and sustainable consumption models.
Call for Leadership and Experts
EurEau Network Communications Managers meeting
EurEau hosted its annual EurEau Network Communications Management (ENCM) Meeting 2019 on April 4- 5. Over the course of the two days, the Communication Managers from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Malta, Sweden and The Netherlands exchanged experiences and expertise.
Green week 2019
We will participate in the European Commission’s Green Week 2019, first through encouraging people to drink more water, by hosting water-based cocktails at a reception on 15 May.
Secondly, EurEau President Bruno Tisserand will moderate a session on Thursday morning on fertilisers.
You can read more here. Registration is now open.
Connecting policy and practitioners
Bertrand will be part of a panel discussion in the event ‘BridgeOverWater – connecting science and policy’ on 16 May. This half day event aimed at bridging the gap between science, policy and practitioners in the water sector.
Out n About
EurEau President Bruno Tisserand was in Poland for the Forum for Environmental Protection, hosted by the Polish IGWP and with the support of MEP Jerzy Buzek. The conference focussed on the circular economy with Bruno giving examples of already implemented solutions that can be found in Europe.
EurEau Secretary General Oliver Loebel participated in the waste water WG of Austrian member ÖWAV and spoke at an ÖWAV workshop on EU policy developments (11 April 20129, Vienna).
On April 25, the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) of the European Commission organised a stakeholder meeting ahead of the release of their report on Environmental and Health Risks of Microplastic Pollution. Oliver and Bertrand attended the meeting. The SAM is an independent group of experts that advise the European Commission and draw policy recommendations on certain topics. For this one, they recognise that the level of knowledge on the effect of micro and nano plastics on health and the environment is not uniform, mainly due to the lack of harmonisation of definitions, analytical and risk assessment methods. However, according to the current level of knowledge, ecological risks are rare today. They recommend taking action to decrease the degree of release of microplastics in order to avoid issues in the future. More information here.
News from members
Public interest in the UK
Water UK is attempting to ‘square the circle’ between shareholder-owned businesses with a profit incentive and the privilege of owning an essential natural monopoly. They published a Public Interest Commitment that includes some specific commitments on governance (e.g. changing articles of association), real-world outcomes (3 x faster leakage reduction, for example) alongside a commitment to an independent panel and reports to hold companies to account.
Kran Märkt gets a new member
The Swedish Permanent Representation to Brussels is officially a member of the Kran Märkt campaign, which advocats for drinking tap water in order to leave plastic bottles behind. Welcome to the KM team!
Read more about Kran Märkt, how you can get Kran Märkt certified and how you can encourage others to drink tap water here.
20-24 May 2019 – Internation symposium on Aquafier Recharge; Madrid, Spain.
28-31 May 2019 - 4th European Climate Change Adaptation Conference: working together to prepare for future; Lisbon, Portugal.
5-6 June 2019 - SOFIE: 1st Summit of the Organic and Organo-mineral Fertiliser Industry in Europe; Brussels, Belgium. Programme here and registrations here (fee).
19 June 2019 - The EU Water Framework Directive: beyond the analysis of the partial success: European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC); Brussels, Belgium. Register here.
4-5 July 2019 – Sustainable bio-based surfactants conference in Paris, France, with EurEau President Bruno Tisserand speaking.
22-27 July 2019 - 5th distance education e-learning Summer School on "Wastewater and Biosolids Management" (WWSS19); Patras, Greece.
11-23 August 2019 - Advanced Water Cycle Management Course; Aarhus, Denmark.
9-13 September 2019 - 10th IAHS International Groundwater Quality Conference (GQ2019); Liège, Belgium.
12-18 September 2019 – SMART-Plant. More at http://www.smart-plant.eu/.
23-25 September 2019 - This year's Nordiwa conference takes place in Helsinki 23-25 September 2019. Read more here.
6-8 October 2019 - ECSM, European Conference on Sludge Management, Liège, Belgium.
28 November 2019 - Second International Conference on Risk Assessment of Pharmaceuticals in the Environment (ICRAPHE); Barcelona, Spain.