The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – The next war for water – EURACTIV.com
We Europeans take water for granted. With the exception of the occasional ban on using garden hoses during heat waves, we use as much water as we want, when we want.
It won’t be like that much longer. Climate change has already forced many cities in Europe to drill even deeper into groundwater.
Over the next decade, Europeans are likely to face the double dilemma of too much or too little water, as droughts and floods become more frequent and more extreme. As with other precious products, the question of access to this water will become intensely political.
Overall, policymakers have yet to treat water supply with the importance it deserves. Projections show that already by 2025, 1.8 billion people will live in countries or regions facing absolute water scarcity. Yet only 5% of international climate finance is allocated to adaptation to climate change and 1% to the protection and provision of drinking water to vulnerable communities.
At the moment, Europe’s political battles over resources focus on energy supply, such as the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and the extension of the Russian Turkish Stream gas pipeline, known as the Balkan Stream, through several EU countries.
In northeast Africa, meanwhile, a diplomatic battle for access to the vast reservoir linked to the Nile has been unfolding for several years, resulting in major diplomatic tensions and with few signs of resolution on the horizon.
The final cost of the Ethiopian Renaissance Grand Dam (GERD), which Ethiopia describes as its “lifeblood” but which is also a vital source of water supply for neighboring Egypt and Sudan, is likely around 4.5 billion euros.
Addis Ababa officials say GERD talks are 90% complete, but reaching a deal remains elusive, especially given the management of the reservoir adjacent to the dam and the distribution of the water. ‘water.
Talks brokered by Donald Trump’s administration over filling and GERD operations collapsed last year, with Ethiopian officials complaining that the United States was siding with Egypt. Trump had described Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el Sisi as his “favorite dictator.”
Although Addis officials told EURACTIV that they were hoping for a change of course from US President Joe Biden, GERD negotiations have not officially resumed. Meanwhile, Egypt and Ethiopia have threatened the other with military intervention and other sanctions.
“If we don’t solve this, our children will wage wars for food and water,” said Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission last month.
Most observers thought he was guilty of the kind of hyperbolic rhetoric politicians are prone to fall for. But he wasn’t. Recent history is littered with wars over oil and gold. Water is no less precious commodity.
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The European Parliament’s legal affairs (JURI), civil liberties and home affairs (LIBE) committees met on Tuesday 11 May to prepare a report on tackling prosecutions aimed at intimidating journalists and society organizations civilian in the EU.
The European Commission was returned to the drawing board on revising the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive after an internal assessment of its draft proposal concluded that it had failed to analyze the potential environmental risks of a increased use of bioenergy.
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Like the Schuman Declaration of 1950, the Conference on the Future of Europe could pave the way for EU reform, said the Spinelli group – which brings together federalist and national parliamentarians – with the Union of European Federalists and the International European Movement.
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- President Von der Leyen chairs the Steering Committee of the Recovery and Resilience Working Group.
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Opinions are those of the author
[Edited by Josie Le Blond]