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Why are we demonstrating in Amposta on 7 February?

3 febrer 2016


The demonstration against the new Ebro River Basin Plan on February 7 is an event aimed at Europe. We have chosen this day and place (the Ebro Delta) because a group of Members of the European Parliament is coming to visit the Delta on the next day,
February 8. Since the Spanish Government began — late, as usual — to prepare the new River Basin Plans (following the EU’s Water Framework Directive), we have tried to participate by bringing information, rationale, and criticisms where necessary, but it’s been in vain. All our input, and that of over 50 other groups which make up the Cuenca Azul collective, has been ignored. The Spanish Government knew before they began which results and objectives the Ebro Plan would have—they had to “prove” that it is a river with “excess water flow”, and so be able to reserve a huge amount of water for future inter-basin water transfers (even though these may be called “sales between users via water banks”), and to approve a minimum ecological flow level for the lower stretch of the river by simply noting what was left over after these deceitful calculations.

We have continuously denounced this treatment before the European institutions. We have contributed technical information to the European Commission and we have asked them to ensure that European environmental laws are followed; these are laws that ensure the future of the Delta before talking about the sale of “excess water capacity” with hidden motives. In 2012, we presented a Petition to the European Parliament along these lines and we spoke before the plenary of the Petitions
Committee several times in defence of our position. On receiving the draft version of the Plan, the European Commission issued a list of recommended changes which the Spanish government has also ignored. Finally, the Petitions Committee have decided to send a group of MEPs here to research the topic in situ and to speak to the people affected in the Delta. On 8 February, six MEPs of various nationalities and political persuasions will come—Pal Csáky (of the PPE parliamentary group, from Slovakia), Julia Pitera (PPE, from Poland), Bodil Valero (Greens, from Sweden), Tatjana Zdanoka (Greens, Latvia), Eleonora Evi (EFDD, Italy), and Kostadinka Kuneva (GUE/NGL, Greece). After their visit to the Delta, where they will meet with fishermen, rice farmers, shellfish farmers, members of the PDE (Ebro defence campaign group), and scientists, they will also travel to Madrid to speak with the Minister of the Environment and then to the Tajo River to evaluate the problems the people are suffering there. They will be accompanied by 4 Catalan and Spanish MEPs.

The report that they will write is not a legally binding text but it will offer proposals and arguments to the European Commission when this body has to make decisions about this new irrational and unsustainable plan.

Therefore, coming back to the 7th, it’s very important that we make ourselves heard very clearly on the streets of Amposta so that they can hear us in Brussels – the echo of our festive protest march will still be sounding loud when the Parliamentary representatives come to visit us the next day.

We have to show them that the people of the Delta are extremely concerned
about this new Plan, and everything that will come after it. Let’s have a massive demonstration in favour of the environment, the likes of which has never before been seen in Europe.
A huge demonstration calling on the European Commission to ensure EU Directives are followed in the Ebro case. Given the Spanish State’s previous background regarding environmental legislation, and the risk the Ebro and its Delta are facing, we call for a direct intervention of the Commission in the Ebro river plan before it is too late!

The River is Life!

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