Macro-regional cooperation is part of the process of strengthening democracy in the EU, and of strengthening bottom-up initiatives. Such cooperation is a positive catalyst, defending and complementing the EU's fundamental values. This is one of the conclusions from the conference on the "Role and significance of the Black Sea region and its connection with the Danube Strategy". The conference took place on 14 and 15 June in Albena, Bulgaria.
As water scarcity and pollution continue to pose global challenges, the current EU policy framework seems insufficient. To address this, top-level water experts gathered on 27 February at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) to identify possible solutions. The hearing marks the beginning of the EESC's work on water.
Water is a vital but an increasingly scarce resource. As the global population grows, so does the demand for water. The problem is global, but also concerns our continent: in summer 2022 Europe saw the most severe droughts in 500 years. Almost two thirds of European citizens consider water quality and/or quantity in their country to be a serious problem. Climate change will further affect the availability, quality and quantity of water. Without action, water scarcity and poverty could concern ever larger parts of civil societies around the world, with far-reaching implications for food security, the environment, human health as well as economic, social, and political stability.
With this debate, the ECO section is providing ex-ante input to the European Commission, in preparation for the upcoming 2023 strategic foresight cycle that wants to shed light on the strategic decisions needed to ensure a socially and economically sustainable Europe with a stronger role in the world in the coming decades.