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Parliamentary questions
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8 March 2021
E-006971/2020(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-006971/2020

The Commission agrees that access to water(1) is essential to ensure sustainable development and poverty eradication worldwide. The Water Framework Directive(2) states ‘Water is not a commercial product like any other but, rather, a heritage which must be protected, defended and treated as such’. It requires Member States to ensure that water-pricing policies incentivise the efficient use of water resources and adequate cost contribution by different water uses(3). To the Commission’s knowledge, no commodity derivative contract where the underlying asset is water exists within the EU. Furthermore, to ensure that there is no excessive speculation, several measures already address risks to the transparency and functioning of commodity derivatives markets. All commodity derivatives are subject to the position reporting regime and fall under position monitoring. There are also the position management controls by exchanges, which the recovery package should reinforce. The oversight of the exchanges’ market supervision and market surveillance departments continue to apply the principles set out in the Market Abuse Regulation(4).

The Commission supports Member States’(5) efforts to ensure access to adequate and safe water, via notably the new Drinking Water Directive(6), which introduces the obligation to improve or maintain access to safe drinking water for all with a focus on vulnerable and marginalised groups. Safeguarding water is in the centre of the framework set out by the European Green Deal(7) and its sectoral strategies(8). The EU Climate Adaptation Strategy(9) will reinforce the adaptive capacity of water dependent systems. Member States can draw on EU funds to design innovative ways for a more resilient and sustainable water management.

(1)The right to access essential services of good quality, including water, is one of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights ( https://ec.europa.eu/commission/priorities/deeper-and-fairer-economic-and-monetary-union/european-pillar-social-rights/european-pillar-social-rights-20-principles_en ).
(2)Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1.
(3)Under the principles of cost recovery and polluter pays.
(4)Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on market abuse (market abuse regulation) and repealing Directive 2003/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directives 2003/124/EC, 2003/125/EC and 2004/72/EC, OJ L 173, 12.6.2014, p. 1‐61.
(5)Internationally, the EU cooperates with third countries and supports their efforts towards a more integrated water management that takes into account the challenges of water scarcity and water quality, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
(6)Directive (EU) 2020/2184 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2020 on the quality of water intended for human consumption (recast), OJ L 435, 23.12.2020, p. 1‐62. This new Directive published in response to the European Citizens' Initiative ‘Right2Water’ ( https://europa.eu/citizens-initiative/initiatives/details/2012/000003_en )
(7)COM(2019) 640 final.
(8)i.e. the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 ( https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/strategy ), the Circular Economy Action Plan (COM(2020) 98 final) and the forthcoming Zero Pollution Action Plan ( https://ec.europa.eu/environment/strategy/zero-pollution-action-plan_en )
(9)https://ec.europa.eu/clima/news/commission-launches-online-public-consultation-new-eu-strategy-adaptation-climate-change_en
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