The EU Parliament backs the ‘Right2Water’ initiative all the way through

European Parliament. STOA workshop on Sustainable Management of Natural Resources with a focus on water and agriculture, 16/10/2013. (EP Audiovisual Services).

European Parliament. STOA workshop on Sustainable Management of Natural Resources with a focus on water and agriculture, 16/10/2013. (EP Audiovisual Services).

This afternoon the European Parliament is to hold a public hearing on the universal right to clean water, the first such hearing under the European Citizens’ Initiative, which enables the public to ask the EU authorities to table new legislation, provided the initiative is backed by one million people across seven member states. The ‘right2Water’ citizens’ initiative is the first one to have completed the authentication and formal requirements course as provided by Regulation (EU) No 211/2011, entitled “European Citizens’ Initiative” (ECI). This Regulation entered into force on 1 April 2011.

The targets and the reasoning of this initiative will be presented today in the European Parliament by the organisers, after having collected two million verified signatures from supporters, the double than one million required by the Regulation. The hearing is organised by Parliament’s committee for the Environment, in association with the petitions, internal market and consumer protection and development committees. The legislators acted after the European Commission on 20 December 2013 registered the initiative, as having fulfilled all the requirements of the Regulation. The Parliament will provide today a platform for debate with MEPs, the leaders of the ‘Right2Water’ initiative and European Commission representatives.

Two million people

As foreseen by this law, the ‘Rigth2Water’ initiative calls on the Commission to draw up legislation to ensure that all citizens are provided with sufficient and clean drinking water and sanitation. In detail they urge that:
1. the EU institutions and Member States should be obliged to ensure that all inhabitants enjoy the right to water and sanitation,
2. water supply and management of water resources should not to be subject to EU “internal market” rules and water services should be excluded from liberalisation, and
3. the EU should step up its efforts to achieve universal access to water and sanitation.

This is not the first time that the European legislators took action in this field. A European Parliament resolution, drafted by Richard Seeber (EPP, AT) and voted in July 2012 stated that “Water is a shared resource of humankind and a public good. Access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right”. This resolution also calls on the European Commission and EU Member States to ensure that access to potable water and sanitation is guaranteed as a fundamental human right which is essential for the full enjoyment of life. Another Parliament resolution on the Millennium Development Goals {June 2013, rapporteur Filip Kaczmarek (EPP, PL)} stressed the importance of universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation in the fight against poverty.

No market rules applicable

On that occasion MEPs also rejected efforts to introduce sector-specific single market legislation in the fields of water and waste disposal. As a result the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission all acknowledge the special nature of water as a public good. After intensive three-way talks, they agreed to exclude it from the scope of a directive on the award of concession contracts before Parliament voted for it on 15 January 2014 {rapporteur Philippe Juvin (EPP, FR)}.

Understandably the Parliament will back the ‘Right2Water’ initiative all the way through. The problem remains though that Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 on ‘citizens’ initiative’ doesn’t question the Commission’s discretionary powers when it comes to introducing legislation. As European Sting writer observed on 12 February 2014 “one million EU citizens residing in at least one-quarter of the Member States can ‘invite’ the Commission to submit a proposal for a legal act which “they consider to be required in order to implement the EU Treaties”. It becomes evident that in this affair the Commission can only be ‘invited’ to act and the College will submit a legislative proposal only if the Commissioners are convinced, that this is “required in order to implement the EU Treaties”.

Not to forget that the Commission is the ‘Guardian of the Treaties’. In short the EU’s executive arm retains all its discretionary powers when it comes to introducing laws. It remains to be seen if the sectors of water supply and sanitation will continue to be privatized in the EU, under pressures from Brussels as it happens currently.











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

Open, inclusive and diverse cities are better for business and economic growth

UN-led Yemen ceasefire monitoring team gets ready to begin operations

The EU accuses Russia of bullying Ukraine to change sides

Camino de Santiago – a global community on our doorstep

What the next 20 years will mean for jobs – and how to prepare

Polluted lungs: health in the center of environment discussion

EU plans to exploit the Mediterranean Sea and the wealth beneath it

South Korea: A cherished partner for the EU

Chart of the day: The internet has a language diversity problem

FROM THE FIELD: How the smell of fresh bread transformed one refugee life

Junker for Commission President: What were the stakes in this affair

This is what a planet-wide network of ocean sanctuaries could look like

Rule of Law: Commission launches infringement procedure to protect the independence of the Polish Supreme Court

Human rights are ‘key’ for economic policymaking says UN expert

Parliament to ask for the suspension of EU-US deal on bank data

Myanmar Government side-lining democratic reform, resorting to military era repression: UN expert

GSMA Mobile 360 – Latin America at Mexico City: Intelligently Connecting to a Better Future, in association with The European Sting

EU and China in search of a win-win agreement through strategic cooperation ahead of the EU-China summit

Trade, taxes and other takeaways from Li Keqiang’s speech to the World Economic Forum

It’s not your imagination, summers are getting hotter

Niger population’s suffering ‘increasing with each passing month’: UN Refugee Agency

Palestine refugees’ relief chief warns Security Council money to fund Gaza operations will run out in mid-June

JADE Spring Meeting 2017 – day 3: JADE Academy trainings, networking session and gala dinner – Excellence Awards winners revealed

‘More support’ vital to put Afghanistan back on a ‘positive trajectory’ – top UN officials

Is co-living an answer to the affordable housing crisis?

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

We can decide to live within the limits of our planet

Mosul’s ‘3D contamination’ adds to challenges of deadly mine clearance work

G7 summit: Trump Vs. G6 leaders on trade and climate change

Further reforms will promote a more inclusive and resilient Indonesian economy

Give a chance to the brothers of Ailan: reception of refugees in Greece

iSting: Change Europe with your Writing

Guinea President Alpha Condé: “We must tackle the root causes of migration”

European Commission calls on national political parties to join efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Europe

For Youth Rights: steps forward for better protection.

How traditional Islamic giving can play a role in the future of aid

Eating less beef and more beans would cut deaths by 5-7%

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Launch of CREWS, climate risk & early warning systems

In this Tokyo cafe, the waiters are robots operated remotely by people with disabilities

UN’s Bachelet rejects Sri Lankan official’s ‘spin’ on Human Rights Council encounter, urges reforms

Discussion at Europe House: Brexit & Food

Launch of Pact for Youth: European Youth Forum calls for real business engagement

A Valentine’s Special: giving back, a dialogue of love

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

Building social good – lessons from an Asian giant

Back to the basics for the EU: Investment equals Growth

Rise in violent conflict shows prevention ‘more necessary than ever’: UN chief

Apple® logo (copyright: Apple)

Apple takes further step into music: EU Regulators formally approve its planned Shazam acquisition

Norway’s electric car market has overtaken traditional vehicle sales

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Changing the Face of Europe

The China-US trade deal will be signed on time; the path is set

Parlamentarians to “break up” with reality in the Google antitrust case

International co-operation vital to improve integration of refugees

Jellyfish are taking over the world – and climate change could be to blame

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

Northern Ireland: Parliament wants to secure post-Brexit regional funding

What if Trump wins the November election and Renzi loses the December referendum?

Joint U.S.-EU Statement following President Juncker’s visit to the White House

UN chief ‘deeply alarmed’ over military offensive in south-west Syria

IMF – World Bank meetings: US – Germany clash instituted, anti-globalization prospects visualized

More Stings?


  1. everyone has a right to clean water

Speak your Mind Here

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

You are commenting using your 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