EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan speaking at a Parliamentary inquiry on Drinking Water in Austria
(8 May 2019) The President of the Bundesrat, Ingo Appé, organised a Parliamentary inquiry on Drinking Water in Austria. People are worried about the quality of water but also that the government or cities might take steps to privatise the municipal water services. These are generally seen as of good quality and people are satisfied. Speakers and including of the three main parties confirmed their support. On the President’s invitation, EPSU’s General Secretary was asked to address the delegates, representatives of cities and regions on the European Citizens’ Initiative and the Drinking Water Directive. He underlined the broad opposition in the EU to liberalisation and privatisation with many cities reversing privatisations. He and others referred to the recent study (September 2018) that compares drinking water systems in a number of European countries like Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal and the United Kingdom. This study underlines the many problems there are with public private partnerships and privatisation. Public ownership and investment and democratic control are the “tested and tried” method to deliver water services in a secure, safe and affordable manner. The study was funded by the Austrian Federation of Cities, EPSU affiliate Younion and the Arbeiterkammer Wien.
He stressed that we expect from the new European Parliament progress is made to secure that the human right to water is included in EU legislation. It is coherent with the Sustainable Development Goals and the European Pillar of Social Rights.
For more on the European Citizens’ Initiative Rights to Water and Sanitation
For the parliamentary debate