Key Role in EU Water Research
Veolia takes an active part in the on-going EU research programmes on water, but the multinational is foremost a key player in the technical platform for water and hygiene (WSSTP), depending directly on the EU. Beside WSSTP vice-president Xavier Chazelle, two Veolia employees sit in its committee of 10. Together, Suez and Veolia pay for at least 60% of the committee’s subsidies. Originally set up for the promotion of sustainable development and the attainment of the United Nations’ Millennium Target, it was also supposed to enhance the European water industry competitiveness. By 2008, only the last of these three objectives remained. When the members met in June, the only topic was new technologies around collection and sanitation of sewage water. The former themes, such as the protection and care of groundwater resources and the promotion of organic farming to protect groundwater from pesticides and to stop the earth from drying, were hardly paid any attention. According to a Veolia representative, these things were the responsibility of the States. He added that the market of the (private) water industry was polluted water and that therefore, no one was interested to see the volume of such a market diminish.