Answer received from the European Commission to our open letter on the EU’s Water Resilience Initiative

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15 May

On 05 March 2024, EAA – together with over more than 30 organisations – signed a joint open letter on the delay by the European Commission to publish their announced Communication on Water Resilience. A reply by Ms. Olazabal – Head of Unit DG.ENV.C.1 (Sustainable Freshwater Management), on behalf of the European Commission’s president U. von der Leyen, has been received by EAA recently.

The Open Letter's context: Europe’s water bodies need more political attention

As Europe is facing more intense & frequent extreme weather events related to climate change, the European Union should accelerate its action to address recurrent water scarcity and protect society against the effects of droughts, floods, wildfires, and sea level rise. With the letter, the signatories – including EAA – expressed that achieving water resilience through nature-based solutions should be a political priority under the next European Commission, with healthy freshwater and marine ecosystems - rivers, lakes, wetlands, deltas and coastal areas - at its core.

Unfortunately, the European Commission recently decided to delay the urgently needed EU Communication on water resilience. In light of this EAA – together with over 30 other organisations – addressed this issue early March in an open letter to European Commission’s president Ursula von der Leyen, underlining the need to put the nature-based EU water resilience initiative back on the agenda before the 2024 EU elections. 

The European Commission’s acknowledges the strategic importance of resilient EU waters

In the European Commission’s reply, Ms C. Olazabal – head of Unit covering Sustainable Freshwater Management (DG. ENV.C.1) – underlined that the European Commission shares the position outlined in the open letter as regards the strategic importance of making Europe’s waters resilient.
Also, the Commission acknowledges that “water resilience can to a large extent be achieved through nature-based solutions [and] we take good note of your call for biodiversity and nature-based solutions to become a priority also in the next Commission’s mandate”.
The European Commission – in its reply – also stipulates that healthy freshwater & marine ecosystems such as rivers, lakes, wetlands, deltas and coastal areas “are indeed the bedrock of a sound economy and healthy population”.
The European Angling community will be reminding the next European Commission of their expressed commitments in this reply as an enhanced attention to nature-based EU water resilience is crucially needed! 

Also, as EAA has been voicing for many years, good husbandry of aquatic ecosystems is not only beneficial for nature, wildlife but also for local populations & economies in coastal and remote areas. The restoration of such habitats will generate crucial economic revenue from sustainable activities such as angling while also providing the ideal hotspot for EU citizens to enjoy the many benefits of the outdoor life.

More information 

Please find here the full reply by the European Commission
Please find here the Joint Open letter signed by EAA.

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