Sven Giegold
Member of the European Parliament – Greens/EFA Group

Speaker of the German Green Delegation

EU trade agreement with Japan: water must not become a commodity

The trade agreement between the EU and Japan (JEFTA) is almost complete and would be by far the most important trade agreement of the EU in economic terms. As an “EU-only” agreement, the national parliaments of the EU countries will therefore not be allowed to vote on it. On these grounds the German Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) as well as the Alliance of public water management have issued a position papers on JEFTA, in which they point out that the agreement means a deterioration in the protection of public water management even worse than with the CETA agreement with Canada. The BDEW had already criticized CETA. The position paper is based on the expertise of Stadtwerke Karlsruhe (local public waterworks).


The economic and financial spokesman for the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, Sven Giegold, said:

“JEFTA promotes the liberalization of water supply and wastewater disposal. Water is not a commodity, but a public good and is thus not a commodity. It has no place in a trade agreement. JEFTA disregards the principle of subsidiarity in Europe. Trade agreements should facilitate trade, but must not interfere with “services of general economic interest”. JEFTA is even more dangerous for “services of general economic interest” than CETA. The agreement with Canada provides for limited protection of our water. It is bitter that the EU Commission ignores the limited progress made in CETA, as soon as public pressure is on the ebb.

Once again it becomes clear that European trade policy needs a new start. We need trade agreements that facilitate customs duties, customs clearance procedures and safe technical standards. Limitations of democracy or violations of the principle of subsidiarity must be avoided. Only with such a new start trust of citizens and civil society in the EU trade policy can be regained. Agreements like JEFTA have no future.”

The position paper of the Allianz der öffentlichen Wasserwirtschaft e.V. (AöW)  can be found here:

The position paper of BDEW:

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