MEPs call for “constructive dialogue” with Spanish government after Ebro Water Plan assessment
Since a delegation of MEPs visited the Ebro Delta, in the south of Catalonia on the 8th of February, the delegation has drafted their report of the current ecological flow of the Ebro Water Plan (PHE). In the draft of the report, the European Parliament questions whether European standards and community laws are being met, and recommends conducting an “in-depth study” on ecological flow of “protected areas”. In addition, the MEPs urge the European Commission to closely monitor the area, and call on the Spanish government to have “constructive dialogue” with the Catalan Government, NGOs, and civil society about how to meet more ecological objectives and existing water demands.
Brussels (CNA).- After visiting the Ebro Delta on the 8th of February, a delegation of MEPs drafted a report of their findings after several petitions warning of possible infringement of EU water standards were put forth. In the assessment, the main concern the MEPs focus on is the “lack of ecological flow”. Additionally, the delegates question whether European standards are met, and if the Ebro Water Plan (PHE) is in compliance with community law. As a result, the delegation of MEPs headed by European People’s Party MEP Pál Csáky urge the European Parliament to conduct an “in-depth study” on ecological flow of “protected areas”. To do this, the MEPs have urged the Parliament to use European funds to complete the study, and to take the views of all stakeholders into account in order to re-establish the necessary ecological flow of sediments in the Ebro Delta while still meeting other environmental and community concerns with the PHE.
During their visit in February, experts carried out tests to see how regression and climate change has affected natural habitats and species such as poultry and seafood in the area. In the report, findings show that issues with ecological flow, subsidence, erosion, and salinisation are also negatively impacting rice farmers and fishermen in the area, and have raised the concerns of community members as well as environmentalists and bird experts.
As a result of these findings, Csáky and the delegation hope to suggest and take “possible measures to mitigate the effects of climate change”. Additionally, Csáky warned the Spanish government that “construction of water works, dams, and irrigation channels” should not impede “the flow so that adequate sediments can move into the delta”.
MEPs call for more “constructive dialogue” from Spanish government
Since releasing the draft of the report, the Parliament has stressed that “there is a need for a more fruitful and trustworthy dialogue” between the Spanish government and regional authorities, NGOs, and civil society. Additionally, the delegation of MEPs including Csáky (Slovakia) as well as Julia Pitera (Poland), Bodil Valero (Sweden), Tatjana Ždanoka (Latvia), Eleonora Evi (Italy) and Kostadinka Kuneva (Greece) suspect that many of the problems with the PHE are “the result of possible conflicts of interest between the region and the state authorities”.
Now that the assessment has been drafted, the MEPs can table amendments to this report before it is fully discussed and approved in the Parliament’s Committee on Petitions in late June or July. With more “constructive dialogue” between the Spanish and Catalan governments, however, the Parliament hopes to resolve conflicts between the various stakeholders in the PHE in order to move forward and achieve more environmental standards and water demands that still exist in regions of the country like Valencia, Andalusia, and Murcia.