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.
The EU has anticipated these challenges to a certain extent, setting up legal frameworks for the protection and management of our freshwater and marine resources. However, many of these objectives have not been reached largely due to insufficient funding, slow implementation and insufficient integration of environmental objectives in sectoral policies. The existing tools remain fragmented, and water-related objectives are not well integrated across all EU policies. Considering the challenges at stake, the current EU policy framework is not fit for purpose. A change of scale is needed.
Against this background, the EESC is working on water as a cross-cutting theme in 2023. With a view to building a comprehensive approach to European water policies, the EESC will adopt a set of own-initiative opinions, addressing the topic from sectoral perspectives and making concrete proposals. At a high-level conference "Call for an EU Blue Deal" in October 2023, the EESC will announce its proposals and will call on the European Commission to start addressing water as a priority at European scale.
The EESC invites civil society as well as other key actors and organisations working on water to join its call for an EU Blue Deal.
This page contains information on the EESC's activities on the Blue Deal, including key events, news and information on the opinions addressing water challenges prepared by the different Sections.