On 21–23 May, 2019 NCC in cooperation with the European Water Regulators Association (WAREG) hosted the 18th WAREG General Assembly events in Vilnius that were attended by the representatives of more than 20 regulatory entities established to execute regulatory functions related to water and (or) wastewater services (hereinafter – regulators).
Deputy Head of European Commission Representation in Lithuania welcomed the wide representation of regulatory community of water and wastewater treatment sector being able to gather together in Vilnius for the first time with the aim to promote further cooperation among regulators in such a network as WAREG. Regulators were urged to strengthen their competences and their role as an important stakeholder in a dynamic regulatory environment and to contribute actively to the ongoing revision of the Water framework directive.
In the events regulators mainly focused on further consolidation of WAREG activities and voted in favour of the WAREG Action plan for 2020–2022 foreseeing the work priorities of WAREG and building a robust administrative and financial framework for WAREG to serve for the benefits of all WAREG members. Most of the fruitful discussions happened on one of the WAREG work priority, namely strengthening the independent functioning of regulators. The invited participants from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presented their studies conducted on the governance of the sector regulators in energy, water, e-communications and transport in three main areas of independence, accountability and scope of action. The experience in consolidating and strengthening the regulator was shared by the representatives of Croatian, Kosovo, Irish, Lithuanian, Portuguese and Italian regulators. There was a common understanding that the direct instructions possible from any public or private bodies threaten the independent and autonomous functioning of regulator and further evidence and work is needed to be provided by WAREG on this issue of independent functioning of regulators. For that purpose it was decided to convene the special task force that will be run by representative of Lithuanian regulator.
WAREG has been established officially on 5 December, 2017 as a not-for-profit association under Italian law with the objective to promote closer cooperation among its members, by:
- exchanging information and providing joint analysis and comparison of existing water sector regulatory models as well as the performance of water utilities, organising specialised training, staff exchange, technical assistance among Members;
- promoting best practices and stable regulation of the water and wastewater services at European level;
- promoting cooperation aimed at analysing the sustainability of services, proper infrastructure investment, good quality services and consumer protection;
- liaising with other relevant regional and international organisations and national institutions, with a particular focus on European issues in the field of water and wastewater services.
Now WAREG gathers 26 regulators as members and 5 regulators as observers. NCC has been participating in WAREG since 2014.