EESC Opinion: Integration of water policy

"Drawing on its expertise in the fields of the environment and agriculture, the challenges relating to the impact of climate change in Europe - alternating periods of flooding and drought, with consequent deteriorations in water resources, land and infrastructure and economic and social activities - the EESC advocates a consolidated and  crosscutting approach to environmental, economic and social issues.

The EESC considers it extremely important for the EU to adopt a European policy on water through the Water Framework Directive and encourages Member States and EU institutions to consolidate this policy, bearing in mind that water is of primary importance to people, industries, farming, and local authorities, not only because it is vital for life but also for the economy, social life and the environment.

It therefore advocates giving it central importance through all other EU policies.

Focusing on the specific needs and commitments of rural and farming communities during the discussion phase of the post-2013 CAP, the EESC recommends making funds under the first pillar more conditional upon water policies through the application of "environmental cross-compliance"  and increasing agri-environmental measures under the second pillar together with subsidies earmarked for water protection, up to levels that will attract the support of farmers.

Since there are numerous homeless or poorly-housed Europeans who still have no free access to running and/or drinking water, the EESC links challenges associated with water with measures to fight poverty and the goal of eradicating it." (...)