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Sustainable Water Management in Germany against the Background of European Liberalisation Trends


Sustainable Water Management in Germany against the Background of European Liberalisation Trends

Current developments at EU level indicate that water supply could soon no longer be subject to municipal self-administration, but instead to European competition rules and to a mandatory tendering procedure. In Germany, steps on reforming the water sector are currently considered in the framework of the national modernisation strategy. Against this background, the Green Party (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen) in the German Parliament commissioned Ecologic to prepare an expert opinion on sustainable water management in Germany.

Three years have passed since the adoption of a position paper by the Green Party and the parliamentary request of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) together with the Green Party on "Sustainable water management in Germany". The resulting resolution of the German Parliament formulates a modernisation strategy for the German water sector, which aims at furthering efficient, customer orientated and competitive service enterprises bound to sustainable water management. It is now time to review the current status of the modernisation process and to investigate the new questions arising from the modernisation of the water sector. Elements of the modernisation strategy include the promotion of joint water and sewerage undertakings, equal fiscal treatment of water supply and sewerage services as well as the implementation of a benchmarking system.

European Commission plans towards liberalisation of the European water sector are still under discussion. In Mai 2003, the Commission published two trend-setting documents, first the "Green paper on services of general interest" and second the Communication "Internal Market Strategy - Priorities 2003-2006". In addition, in summer 2003, the European Commission started gathering information regarding the competitive conditions of the European water sector through questionnaires addressed to the individual Member States. Depending on the results, the European Commission will decide if "legislative measures" have to be taken in order to increase competition in the water sector.


Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (B90/Grüne), Germany
March 2004 to April 2004
Project ID
Privatisation, Liberalisation, Europe, Internal market strategy, Green paper, Services of general interest, Germany, National modernisation strategy, Resolution of the German Bundestag, Sustainable water managment