Call of the European Water Movement for European elections

The European Water Movement is an open, participatory and pluralist network of social movements, organizations and committees, and trade unions whose aim is to strengthen the recognition of water as a commons and water and sanitation access as universal fundamental right. We are united in the fight against the privatization and the commodification of this vital resource, as well as in the promotion and the implementation of a public and collective management of the water and sanitation services, based on democratic participation of citizens and workers.

Since its foundation in 2012 the members of the European Water Movement have played a significant role and have engaged in advocating for water justice and the recognition and implementation of the human right to water and sanitation at EU, national and local level.

Our members are based in: Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Greece, and Serbian and Bosnian organizations recently joint us.

The European elections in May 2019 are a crucial moment for the European Water Movement to get in touch with candidates: we call you to take a position in support of the human right to water and sanitation, commit to our values and promote policies that recognise water as a commons.


Seven years since the achievement of the first ever European Citizens Initiative, in which the European Water Movement played a key role, but we are still waiting for a real implementation of the human right to water and sanitation in the EU and the member states. It is a fundamental issue for the European Water Movement and its members, we ask you to commit to support it.

We also demand that all European water laws explicitly mention the recognition of the human right to water and sanitation, and water as a commons.

The lack of recognition of the human right to water and sanitation is reflected in a diverse range of policies at EU level where MEPs support is crucial.


The recast of the Drinking Water Directive voted by the European Parliament does not include or recognise the human right to water, while the European Commission pretended that this was one of the aim of the recast. We call on MEPs to scrap the current text and reformulate a more ambitious proposal reinforcing art 13 European Commission's draft. We also call for a more effective approach to chemical substances like PfAs or PfOs and microplastics. 


Clean water is essential to life, and this requires protecting water bodies. The Water Framework Directive, key legislative instrument for water protection, has to be continued after 2027. The upcoming fitness check must include a concretisation of the prohibition of water deterioration and strengthen effective enforcement mechanisms. Also, recital 1 needs to be strengthened according to the demands of the millions of citizens expressed by the Citizens' Initiative Right2Water: water supply and management of water bodies not be subject to ‘internal market rules’


Water and sanitation services are defined as essential services for everyone by principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights; therefore they must be explicitly excluded from trade and investment rules and agreements (such as CETA or JEFTA). Such exclusion is missing so far, despite European Parliament demands, including via the call for a “golden standard” clause for public services. Parliamentary control is crucial during the negotiation and implementation of these trade agreements. The precautionary principle is also of essential importance in the context of trade agreement. We call you to ensure democracy is protected and essential services such as water and sanitation are excluded from any trade agreement!


The debate about the commons is increasingly important in Europe; this includes cultural and digital commons, social commons, urban commons and natural commons (such as communal land and, of course, water). The eighth European Parliament has seen the creation of an intergroup focusing on commons in Europe. The commons are strongly connected with human rights and they offer a relevant and effective way out of the economic and social crisis, restructuring our economies and societies. We urge the European Parliament to continue working on the commons.


Remunicipalisation and public-public partnerships with a decisive role of citizens proved their effectiveness. They represent the best option for European water policy and real and effective democracy and transparency. Remunicipalisation took place in major cities such as Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Turin and Naples, in medium size cities like Terrassa, Valladolid, Montpellier and Rostok, and in small cities such as Medina Sidona and Arenys de Munt. Remunicipalisation is inseparable from fights against privatisation in Portugal and Greece, among others. We ask you to support legislative proposals for the development of public-public partnerships and encourage remunicipalisation of water and sanitation services in Europe!