Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
Patrick Spets (2013) The Europeanization of the Debate on Water Management – A Comparative Analysis between Austria and Sweden
Human Geography, advanced level, master thesis for master exam in Human Geography, 30 ECTS credits.
Supervisors: Onyanta Adama-Ajonye and Marianne Kjellén
The European Water Framework is regarded as a groundbreaking piece of legislation on transnational water issues. Environmental aspects, water quality and policy suggestions for european member states are its main purposes. In a hectic and short debate in german and austrian public media a new proposal made by the European Commission was criticized of being supportive to water privatization on a local level. The debate was limited to Germany and Austria, with no mentioning in swedish public media. This study analyses the characteristics of the austrian debate and the similarities with its swedish counterpart with discourse theory as a theoretical framework and an online survey conducted with 50 local administrators in each member state as the empirical basis. In a qualitative attempt the statements in the live public debate were gathered and discussed with academic background on privatization and the European Water Framework Directive.
An europeanization of the debate on water management was not detected. Further empirical research on the attitudes of regional water managers are needed to support the indication made in this thesis that the austrian public opinion establishes a connection between the Water Framework Directive while in Sweden the debate is non-existent.