(23 March 2017) An EPSU delegation was warmly welcomed by the Slovenian Permanent Representative Janez Lenarčic and MEP Igor Soltes to celebrate Slovenian leadership in the campaign to have water recognised as a basic human right, on World Water Day, 22 March 2017. Slovenia was the first and to date so far the only European Union Member State to introduce water as a human right into their constitution.
His excellency Janez Lenarčic told the EPSU delegation that he was extremely proud of the fact that the Slovenian Parliament moved so quickly to establish water as a human right and a public good. He went on to say that Slovenia strongly believes in the concept of the public good and public services, mentioning that river banks and sea shores are also considered a public good in Slovenia.
MEP Soltes said that in visits to a number of Member States in the run up to today’s World Water Day he had been told that Slovenia was seen as a bright example leading the way, when it comes to promoting water rights as a human right. He believes this change in the constitution signifies his country’s willingness to show responsibility to citizens, to nature and to the next generation.
EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan reminded the Slovenian hosts that EPSU had initiated the first successful European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to make water a human right. The Federation had worked with NGOs and citizen groups to achieve this positive result. Goudriaan went on to say that , ‘today on World Water Day it is important to say that Slovenia showed that it is an issue of political will to recognise water as a human right. We now look to the European Commission to come forward with concrete proposals to introduce the UN Right to Water and Sanitation into EU legislation. This would be a tremendous step forward for Europe’s people and show that the EU can be a positive project granting and developing people’s rights.