The economics of an "EU Blue deal"

EESC opinion: The economics of an "EU Blue deal"

Key points


  • considers access to safe, clean and quality water a fundamental right and finds it totally unacceptable that there are still people who have no access to water in the EU;
  • is calling for:
  • adapting basic economic concepts such as market rules, economic viability or productivity to take into account the multilateral values of water;
  • coherent legislation in all Member States on an EU mechanism for storing water during wet periods;
  • water prices across Member States to be evaluated in accordance with the 'polluter pays principle';
  • a rationalisation of water consumption through the implementation of the following measures:
    • price differentiation between consumption for domestic use and essential public services, and consumption for productive use;
    • a pricing system that effectively discourages unsustainable consumption while incentivising consumption for productive purposes;
  • a long-term strategy to increase resilience against water scarcity;
  • investments in working conditions, quality jobs and training and specific activities in this field, especially targeting the younger generation.
  • the design of the price to include a minimum requirement of free water to ensure human rights;
  • ensuring full transparency of the costs and price of water towards all stakeholders;
  • public planning exclusively at a river basin level (including underground water) in such a way that the EU general interest is protected;
  • increased complementarity between European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), the Recovery and Resilience Facility, InvestEU, Interreg Europe and other funds;
  • a dedicated operational programme for water and for Integrated Territorial Investments (ITI) for the blue economy;
  • water sectors to be recognised as a strategic priority in the 2028-2034 programming period and, where relevant, a dedicated operational programme for water;
  • establishing a Blue Transition Fund.