European Commission Addresses Barriers to Innovation: First Deal Focuses on Water Reuse

At a recent announcement in Brussels, the European Commission, together with 14 partners from national and regional authorities, universities, knowledge centres, innovators and end-users, elaborated concrete steps to address regulatory barriers to innovation by signing the first Innovation Deal on “Sustainable Waste Water Treatment Combining Anaerobic Membrane Technology (AnMbR) and Water Reuse”.

This represents a commitment to help innovators overcome perceived regulatory barriers and work towards better regulation through the Innovation Deals instrument. This first Innovation Deal focuses on an existing regulatory framework affecting water reuse for agricultural purposes. It will clarify how EU legislation can allow better recovery of resources from waste water through innovation.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said:

“The Innovation Deals is an instrument towards a more modern and responsive administration that helps innovators facing regulatory obstacles to innovation in the existing EU legislative framework. Implementing Innovation Deals shows that we are changing as an institution, from only setting rules to being pragmatic and pro-active in helping achieve policy objectives through innovation.”

Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said:

“This first ‘Innovation Deal’ on water helps in our push for a circular economy. It comes as we are about to check how European water policy is working. We want our policy to be simpler to put in place and easier to use. The Innovation Deal helps us do this.”

The Innovation Deal can have a significant impact on regions in Europe that are subject to water scarcity by opening up innovative solutions as a new source of agricultural irrigation. The aim is to provide more clarity on the regulatory situation towards the end of the year. This will serve as a basis for investment decisions in the technology.

The Innovation Deal is a voluntary agreement aiming to bring together relevant national, local and EU regulatory bodies to help innovators overcome perceived regulatory barriers to innovation.

The Innovation Deal on “Sustainable Waste Water Treatment Combining Anaerobic Membrane Technology (AnMbR) and Water Reuse” will focus on perceived regulatory barriers in relation to the recovery of costs for water services, discharge requirements for urban waste water treatment, and responsibilities of end-users for water reuse.

Photo credit: Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from The European Commission.


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