Human Right to Water: EP takes key step towards EU recognition

(Press Release – 29 June 2015) The demands of the first ever successful European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) Right2Water received overwhelming support from Members of European Parliament, who voted on an own-initiative report in the Environment Committee. This report demands the European Commission to implement the human rights to water and sanitation in EU Legislation. Also, MEPs positioned themselves to exclude water services from trade agreements such as TTIP, the proposed trade agreement between the EU and the US. There should be no liberalisation of water services via EU proposals. MEPs want the human right to water to have a central place in the EU platform for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Jan Willem Goudriaan, vice-president of the European Citizens' Committee Right2Water "The EP vote gives a strong message to the Commission. It should come forward with serious proposals to implement the Human Right to Water in EU legislation. We are encouraged by the continued cross-party support for the demands of the ECI."

Many supporters of the ECI have been in contact with their MEPs. 21.000 emails were sent. Also, European civil society organisations requested the parliamentarians to support.

Goudriaan added: "Many thanks to all that have contributed to this outcome. It is a boost for the many activists that are campaigning at local level to prevent people are being shut-off from water because they can not pay their bills. The demands of the ECI are alive and kicking."

Initiatives on Right2Water are being considered in many countries like Greece, Ireland and Slovenia. Excluding water and other public services from trade agreements plays a key role in much of the critique on and resistance to for example TTIP. Goudriaan is thanking the MEPs for their work and support and is calling on them to support the ECI in the plenary vote. "This will give the right signal that what citizens say does matter at a moment euroscepticism is so rife."

The ECI organisers have said that the Commission's response lacked ambition. This is now shared by MEPs. The MEPs feel that without an appropriate reaction and follow-up the instrument of the ECI loses credibility. After an initial wave of ECI proposals very few groups are still pursuing an ECI. This is disconcerting as the instrument of the ECI should have contributed to closing the gap between European institutions and citizens.

The European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted on the report of MEP Lynn Boylan on 25 June 2015. The report will now be voted upon in the plenary of the European Parliament. This will happen most likely in September 2015.

For more information on the Right2Water

For the press release of the EP Environmental Committee on the vote.

For more information: EPSU, Pablo Sanchez, - 0032 (0) 474626633

EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions. It is the largest federation of the ETUC and comprises 8 million public service workers from over 265 trade unions; EPSU organises workers in the energy, water and waste sectors, health and social services and local, regional and central government, in all European countries including the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood. EPSU is the recognized regional organization of Public Services International (PSI). For more information please go to:

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