panel discussion on 4 September at the Austrian permanent representation on ECI right to water
(7 September 2018) On 4 September at the Austrian Permanent Representation to the EU, a panel was held to discuss whether the recast of the drinking water Directive fulfils the demands of the ECI right to water. There was a full house present to hear the discussion.
Jan Willem Goudriaan, EPSUs General Secretary and vice-president of the Citizens Committee gave the opening remarks stating that we need a clear recognition of the human right to water, as laid out by the United Nations in 2010.
The panel consisted of Michel Dantin Member of the European Parliament (EPP), Matjaz Malgaj European Commission, Eva Mittermayr, Austrian Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism (currently holding the EU presidency), Thomas Kattnig, member of the Federal Executive Board of younion _ Die Daseinsgewerkschaft, and Iris Strutzmann Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK)
Earlier this year the Commission presented the recast of the Drinking Water Directive. Apart from technical modifications, it foresees better access to water and proposes measures regarding access to water for vulnerable and marginalised groups.
Michel Dantin stated that there are no major disagreements on the principle of the right to water, but rather on its implementation. Thomas Kattnig expressed the need to guarantee high quality and affordable drinking water for all Europeans.
Eva Mittermayr did not report any progress in the Council discussions, much to the despair of participants. The Austrian Presidency is currently not playing a positive role. EPSU will lobby with our Austrian affiliates to change this.
The European Parliament’s report on the right to water will be voted ENVI Committee on 10 September, while the Plenary vote is expected in October 2018.
EPSU will promote that Article 13 of the recast Directive, which refers to Quality of Water for Human Consumption, is as comprehensible as possible.
There is little time for a public European debate.