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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

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

100 years on, UN labour agency mission focussed on growing inequality, says Director-General

Better air pollution data is helping us all breathe easier. Here’s how

Zimbabwe ‘facing worst hunger crisis in a decade’

Women’s rights face global pushback from conservativism, fundamentalism – UN experts warn

Alcohol abuse kills three million people a year, most of them men – WHO report

The EU moulds a new compromise for growth and financial sustainability

G20 LIVE: World Leaders in Turkey for G20 Summit. Global Economy will be discussed in Antalya

Time to pay up: UN summit to push for development finance breakthrough

Encouraging progress made in 2018, in ‘zero tolerance’ effort to end sexual exploitation and abuse across UN

‘Beyond reasonable doubt’, international court convicts notorious DR Congo rebel leader of war crimes

Data Protection Regulation one year on: 73% of Europeans have heard of at least one of their rights

Why responsible consumption is everyone’s business

Aid spending fell in 2018, for the second year in a row

Scientists have created biodegradable microneedles to fight eye disease

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

Food finally features in the climate debate. Now what?

Fuel crisis rapidly draining last ‘coping capacities’ of Palestinians in Gaza

Visa Facilitation and Readmission: the European Union and Belarus sign agreements

Eurozone’s bank resolution mechanism takes a blow

The cost of healthcare is rising in ASEAN. How can nations get the most for their money?

“Who do I call if I want to call Europe?” Finally a name and a number to answer Henry Kissinger’s question

Secretary-General calls for global participation in UN75 dialogues for better future for all

‘BioSolar Leaves’ are better at cleaning the air than trees, say the technology’s developers

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ford trumpets new in-vehicle system, “fundamentally rethinks” transportation

How drones can help rural Africa take flight

Walk, cycle, dance and play – UN health agency recommends new action plan for good health

16 foods that are good for you – and the planet

EU to finance new investment projects with extra borrowing; French and Italian deficits to be tolerated

Member states jeopardising the rule of law will risk losing EU funds

Eurobarometer survey: Majority of EU citizens positive about international trade

Car bomb attack on National Police Academy in Colombia, ‘strongly condemned’ by UN

Conditions deteriorating alarmingly in Yemen, warns senior UN official

New EU rules to thwart money laundering and terrorist financing

Sudan: UN rights chief alarmed over ‘excessive force’, alleged use of live fire against protestors

Migration and rule of law on next ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly agenda

Medicine in the 4th Industrial Revolution: the third entity of the new doctor-patient relationship

To save biodiversity, MEPs call for binding targets at global and EU level

A reflection of health inequity in recent epidemics

UNESCO food and culture forum dishes up fresh serving of SDGs

#EUBeachCleanUp: EU organises record number of cleaning actions worldwide

IQ scores have been falling for decades, new study finds

From start-up to scale: This is how governments can accelerate innovation and build inclusive economies

Nigeria: Armed conflict continues to uproot thousands, driving up humanitarian need

How TV has brought mental health issues into the light – and helped to banish stigma

The two big uncertainties shaping our future

Millennials are transforming African farming

4 key ways countries can finance their SDG ambitions

Professional practices of primary health care for Brazilian health and gender inequality

A Europe that protects: EU reports on progress in fighting disinformation ahead of European Council

An economist explains how to value the internet

This NATO experiment used fake Facebook accounts to trick soldiers into sharing sensitive information

Dealing with stress among healthcare professionals: are we missing the elephant in the room?

External action: more funds for human rights, development and climate change

International trade statistics: trends in third quarter 2019

Syria: Urgent, concrete actions needed, to protect children too young to ‘make sense of this senseless war’

Brexit: Six more months of political paralysis or a May-Corbyn compromise?

UNICEF chief hopes 2020 will be ‘a year of peace’ for Syria’s children

Food supply chain: A step closer to ending unfair trading

UN chief praises New Zealand premier’s ‘admirable’ response to Christchurch attacks

Lifting the lid on the value of a company’s human capital

More Stings?

Comments

  1. everyone has a right to clean water

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