The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) is operating a number of digital computer models to simulate the physical, chemical and biological aspects of freshwater and of the marine environment on an EU-wide level. These models require assumptions on the environmental loads being modelled, and they produce very large amounts of data that describe the simulated state of the environment that is the consequence of these assumptions. In order to build policy assessment based on these models, there needs to be a structure that feeds policy-relevant information into the models and that interprets the model results in a way that is meaningful in a policy context.

For this it was necessary to build an inventory of existing environmental pressures, a database of existing and potential measures to reduce these pressures, a method to formulate policy scenarios accompanied by purpose-built software to translate these scenarios into input data that can be used by the model. The Commission intends to use the methods and tools built up in the course of the study in future policy development. In a first stage, five pressures have been addressed: eutrophication, selected contaminants, plastic litter, freshwater abstraction, and marine fishing pressure

JRC activities were supported by an external Blue2 study (Assistance for better policy-making on freshwater and marine environment) link

The objective of the BLUE2 study was thus to develop a framework for the integrated socio-economic assessment of policies affecting the quality of the freshwater and marine environment, to be applied in connection with the water and marine modelling framework held by the Commission's Joint Research Centre. This framework is to be used in connection with the Commission's tasks to oversee the evaluation, implementation and possible review of the EU water and marine legislation. The instruments concerned include the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD), the Drinking Water Directive, the Nitrate Directive, the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and the Industrial Emission Directive (IED).

At the end of the first phase the existing MEME network (comprising European marine modelling experts) was exploited to establish the first pan-European ensemble scenario exercise, estimating the impact from nutrient reduction measures on biogeochemical and food web variables that are relevant for the MSFD. The willingness of our partner institutes to contribute voluntary to such an additional activity, was well above our expectations.

BLUE2 related Publications and Reports