Organisers of the “Right2Water” campaign urged the EU Commission to guarantee access to water and sanitation as a human right, and give a legal undertaking that water services will not be liberalised in the EU, in the first European Parliament debate on a European Citizens’ Initiative in Parliament on Monday. MEPs shared the view that access to water is a basic human right, but some pointed out that rules on providing drinkable water remain the remit of EU member states.
The hearing, organised by the Environment Committee, in association with Development, Internal Market and Petitions committees, brought together representatives of the “Right2Water” Citizens Committee, MEPs and the European Commission, which will draft a response to the initiative by 20 March.
“Parliament recognised that water is a shared resource of humankind and a public good and that access to water should constitute a fundamental and universal right in its the resolution of 3 July 2012 on the implementation of EU water legislation”, but “We need to do more to foster the participation of all actors of our society to make sure that the protection of water resources and of drinking water in particular is reflected into all our policies” said Environment Committee chair Matthias Groote (S&D, DE).
« We launched this initiative to get it on to the European Commission’s agenda. We wish to reiterate here that water provision and sanitation are essential public services for all » said Right2Water Citizens’ Committee chair Anne-Marie Perret. « It is important that citizens should be able to pay reasonable rates reflecting their needs, not those of distribution company shareholders. Today, they no longer hesitate to cut off the water of families in difficulty », she added.
Read more from the press release of the European Parliament