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European Parliament Environment Committee supports ECI on human right to water and sanitation

02 July 2015
The demands of the first ever successful European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) Right2Water received overwhelming support from Members of the European Parliament, who voted on an own-initiative report in the Environment Committee on 25 June 2015.

This report demands that the European Commission implement the human rights to water and sanitation in EU Legislation. Also, MEPs positioned themselves to exclude water services from trade agreements such as TTIP, the proposed trade agreement between the EU and the US. There should be no liberalisation of water services via EU proposals. In addition, MEPs want the human right to water to have a central place in the EU platform for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In an interview with RadioLabour on 30 June, Jan Willem Goudriaan, vice-president of the European Citizens’ Committee Right2Water and General Secretary of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), explains how the European Citizens' Initiative has evolved since it was first launched in April 2012.

Initiatives on Right2Water are being considered in many countries like Greece, Ireland and Slovenia. Excluding water and other public services from trade agreements like to TTIP plays a key role in much of the critique on and resistance to trade agreements.

With the campaign's success in September 2013 when the ECI obtained 1.7 million signatures, the European Commission did not respond positively to the public hearing, and ECI organisers said that the Commission’s response lacked ambition. This opinion is now shared by MEPs, who feel that without an appropriate reaction and follow-up the instrument of the ECI loses credibility. After an initial wave of ECI proposals very few groups are still pursuing an ECI. This is disconcerting as the instrument of the ECI should have contributed to closing the gap between European institutions and citizens.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted on the report of MEP Lynn Boylan on 25 June 2015. The report will now be voted upon in the plenary of the European Parliament. This will happen most likely in September 2015.

For more information on the Right2Water www.right2water.eu.

Read the press release of the EP Environmental Committee on the vote.

Listen to the interview on RadioLabour.

Also see