1 million citizens try to create a new EU institution

Albert II, King of the Belgians, in the centre, and Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC on the right. At the inauguration, of the European School Brussels IV. (EC Audiovisual Services).

Albert II, King of the Belgians, in the centre, and Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC on the right. At the inauguration, of the European School Brussels IV. (EC Audiovisual Services).

On April Fools’ Day 2012, the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) came into force and marked the starting point of the first collections of signatures to reach the one million benchmark. The first to accomplish this task are the Organisers of the Right2Water initiative. Incidentally, the European Commission issued an announcement saying that its services will verify the signatures and decide in three months how to act on this.

The main demand of the Rigt2Water initiative is that, “Water is a public good, not a commodity. We invite the European Commission to propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation as recognised by the United Nations”.

According to the organisers, “this ECI is supported by the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU). EPSU represents 275 trade unions and over 8 million workers in all kinds of public services in Europe. Other European or international organisations that support the initiative include the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN), European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), and Public Services international, EPSU’s sister organisation at global level. At national level, there are many more organisations supporting this ECI”.

The rightfulness of the petition is more than obvious. The idea that the distribution of water may be the means for some to become rich or control the well-being of others belongs to prehistory. Well organised societies have always being taking good care of water supply and sanitation themselves through highly specialised public bodies.

Never in history, water distribution in well organised cities became a source of private enrichment. The reason is very simple. Since there is no substitute to water, its distribution is the “definition” of monopoly and those who control it control the city. That is why only in abnormal circumstances water supply is not run by the city itself.

Unfortunately, some distorted minds, theorising about liberal economics came to the conclusion that everything, even water distribution, can be privatised. They forgot to say that before economic theory there is LOGIC. You cannot bestow to some private individuals the means to hold hostage entire cities or regions. It is true that water sellers have being a traditional profession throughout history. History teaches us, however, that they never came to control the organised infrastructure of water distribution. Evidently, any attempt to control the water distribution, especially in our big urban conglomerates, must be treated as a crime against society.

Given, however, that private profiteering doesn’t recognise logical limits, there is nowadays a lot of water supply and distribution privatisations schemes going on all over Europe. From Paris to Athens and from London to Prague there a lot of serious discussions take place for more privatisations plans. They are serious not because they are logical, but just because politicians accept to seriously discuss those prospects.

The money involved would convince any impartial observer, that much of it is used “in advance”. The entire operation seems like trying to enact a scheme to blackmail entire societies. Whatever controls and limits are set to private operators of water distribution, the fact remains that they are given the right to control a non-substitutable good, water.

Returning to the Right2Water initiative, in three months we will test the value of the European Treaties and more precisely the provision of the Lisbon Treaty about the ECI. The institutional tool to make good use of this EU Treaty provision will be the European Commission, with its great discretionary powers.

The Vice-President of the Commission Maroš Šefčovič in welcoming the Right2Water petition said: “First of all, I would like to congratulate the organisers. Although the signatures will need to be verified, collecting 1 million signatures in fewer than six months is a real achievement. The goal of European Citizens’ Initiatives is to spark pan-European debates on issues that concern citizens across Europe, and get those issues onto the EU agenda. Right2Water has certainly achieved that.”

It remains to be seen how the Commission is to make good use of this ECI and put a really democratic institution at work. Presumably, many citizens believe that the Commission open deliberately the ECI on April Fools’ Day. We expect the Commission to silence them with concrete actions.

The fact remains, though, that the Commission reserves the right of introducing any EU legislation. No other EU institution has this right. If this Right2Water initiative triggers an effective and democratic legislative response from the Commission, then  the existing institutional bodies of the EU, namely the Parliament, the Council and the Commission will increase by one; the one million citizens’ initiative. This can work positively for the entire EU edifice, helping restore its democratic legitimisation.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Monday’s Daily Brief: the cost of maternal healthcare, Sudan and Chad updates, sustainability in focus

Why Nordic nations are the best places to have children

On World Bee day, human activity blamed for falling pollinator numbers

ECB to play down IMF’s alarms for deflation danger in the EU

False promises to Small and Medium Enterprises

Increased levels of carbon dioxide could reduce brainpower, study finds

Facebook and Google to treat Europe as the 51st State of the USA

Sudan: Amidst deaths, injuries, imprisonments, UNICEF stresses children’s protection ‘at all times’

European Commission determined to conclude EU-Mercosur trade deal this year despite French concerns

Sustainability is now mission critical for businesses. Here’s why

FROM THE FIELD: Keeping Morocco’s indigenous culture and conservation in balance

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

Cyprus President urges collective leadership to address ‘root causes’ of world’s crises

Increasingly under attack, women human rights defenders need better back up

Phone lines open between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and people are calling strangers

Why we need a moderate approach to moderating online content

Final vote on European Solidarity Corps

‘Alarming levels’ of methamphetamine trafficking in Asia’s Mekong, UN warns

The Commission tells Berlin it is legally obliged to help Eurozone out of stagnation

Climate change: Will COP23 be able to accelerate the implementation of the Paris agreement?

Nearly three million more displaced year-on-year, warns refugee agency chief, but solutions are within reach

It’s a lie Eurozone isn’t competitive

Under-fives’ daily screen time should be kept to 60 minutes only, warns WHO

The West unites against Mali desert rebels

Creating shared value: an opportunity and challenge for entrepreneurship

Is there a new debt crisis on the horizon?

EU agricultural production no more a self-sufficiency anchor

UN rights chief calls for release of hundreds abducted and abused in South Sudan

A Sting Exclusive: the EU referendum is about fighting for an outward-looking Britain

Why economic growth depends on closing the interview gap

More hiring freedom can reduce teacher shortages in disadvantaged areas

Civilians ‘continue to pay highest price’ in Ukraine conflict, with peace prospects losing ‘momentum’

Tech companies are changing, for the better

Why carbon capture could be the game-changer the world needs

Who would pay and who is to gain from the EU-US free trade agreement

Bank resolutions to remain a politically influenced affair

Court of Auditors: EU budget money is there to be spent not to create value

Connected Claims returns to London in 2018

Wind farms now provide 14% of EU power – these countries are leading the way

5 futuristic ways to fight cyber attacks

MEPs demand Bulgaria’s and Romania’s swift accession to Schengen area

UN rights chief says ‘bar must be set very high’ for investigation of murdered Saudi journalist

Resolving banks with depositors’ money?

As tech disrupts our jobs, it’s not too late to turn pain into gain

Despite violence, ‘tremendous hunger’ for peace in Afghanistan: top UN official

Irish Presidency: Not a euro more for EU budgets

EU and Overseas Countries and Territories boost cooperation at annual Forum with €44 million

Technology can help us save the planet. But more than anything, we must learn to value nature

Juncker Investment Plan for Europe welcomed by European Youth Forum

International community agrees on a road map for resolving the tax challenges arising from digitalisation of the economy

Brussels waits for the Germans to arrive

Eurozone: Bank resolution proposal gains wider interest

Checks, fines, crisis reserve: MEPs vote on EU farm policy reform

Varna (Bulgaria) awarded European Youth Capital 2017

Why poorer people suffer more from climate change

Radioactive nuclear waste is a global threat. These scientists may have a new solution

Talent is worldwide. Opportunity is not. How can we redistribute it?

Fertilisers/cadmium: Parliament and Council negotiators reach provisional deal

New rules for audiovisual media services approved by Parliament

Juncker Plan reaches almost €410 billion in triggered investment across the EU

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s