The European Commission Forgets About the Human Right to Water

Brussels - February 12th, 2015

The European Commission has published the statistical results of the public consultation on the Drinking Water Directive [1], their flagship reaction to the first successful European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) on the human right to water and sanitation. According to Food & Water Europe, the review of this Directive, the only major initiative about water included in the Commission’s Working Plan for 2015, does not address the demands of citizens who support the human right to water.

David Sánchez, campaigns officer at Food & Water Europe said, “Despite their propaganda, the answer of the European Commission to the first ever successful ECI was just a compilation of already ongoing actions. And the public consultation on the drinking water directive simply does not address any of the demands of the 1,8 million European citizens that supported the initiative. Even worse, this is the only major action about water in their agenda for 2015.”


Open letter from the European Water Movement on the Greek elections

Brussels, 19 january 2015.

Greece will vote for a new government this week. These elections are a great opportunity to reverse years of austerity and unfair measures imposed over Greek people by the Troika. Among those measures, the privatization of water services, challenged by a great mobilization of Greek civil society and now blocked by justice.

Despite the international scaremongering campaign run by the supporters of the Troika, the European Water Movement calls on all social movements and civil society to stand up against this interference. The Greek people are sovereign to choose their own government and those parties that oppose austerity and want to run policies based on principles of social equity, focused on people's rights and the defense of the public and commons. The European Water Movement also calls especially on those candidates that have campaigned for the Human Right to Water and against privatization of water in Greece and at European level for accomplishing with their position statements.


In Ireland, and in the rest of Europe, water should be a commons, not a commodity!

To the Irish Government and the European Commission

European citizens have been resisting for years the wave towards water privatization, promoted by industry, governments and the European Commission. This push is now imposed by the Troika in countries in crisis, and adopted by Governments as a way to try to ease their debt. Ireland is the last victim and the members of the European Water Movement want to express their solidarity with Irish citizens resisting water charges imposed by their government and the Troika. We also want to remind the European Commission that it should propose legislation to recognize and implement the demands of the first ever successful European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI).*

Citizens all over Europe have repeatedly shown that they are opposed to water privatization and commodification. They showed through the mentioned ECI for the Human Right to Water, supported by nearly 2 million people. They showed it in Greece when the privatization of the public water companies imposed by the Troika and the Greek government was stopped. They did it in Italy with a massive support against the profit of the private water companies in a national referendum. They did it through popular consultations in Madrid, Berlin, Thessaloniki and many other big and small cities around the continent. And this movement is changing the trend, with more than 180 cities, including Paris and Berlin, regaining public control over their water management in the last years.

More than 150.000 people mobilized the 1st of November all over Ireland against water charges, following months of protests and resistance. Water charges in Ireland will discriminate those with less economic means and the unemployed. Water charges are another regressive tax in a time where citizens have been asked to do too many sacrifices to solve an economic crisis they did not cause. Irish public water system is already paid for through general taxation, which is progressive, and Irish people have shown that they wish it to remain that way.

The right to water campaign in Ireland may differ from the rest of Europe, where water charges are implemented in most countries. But the struggle is the same. Resisting water charges means fighting for access to water as a universal Human Right, and against the commodification of water. And it means blocking future possible options of water privatization.

The European Water Movement is a network whose goal is to reinforce the recognition of water as a commons and access to water and sanitation as a fundamental universal right. Therefore we support Irish citizen’s resistance against water charges and call the Irish Government and the European Commission to stop pushing water privatization and commodification, to implement the Human Right to Water as recognized by the United Nations and to exclude water and sanitation services from ongoing and future trade negotiations.

Yours sincerely,


right2water condemns Greek government for obstructing water referendum

Yesterday (17 May 2014) the Greek government, through a circular by Minister of the Interior G.Michelakis, declared "illegal" the self organised water referendum threatening the organizers with arrest for "obstructing the electoral process".

The volunteers behind the referendum that was announced in a public meeting of the grassroots movement SOS te to Nero while the right2water European Citizens initiative hearing was being watched 17 February 2014, have announced that they will go ahead risking arrest by the police. The 11 local mayors on the metropolitan area are supporting the referendum and denounced in forceful terms the attitude of the government. The attitude is a stain on the Presidency of the European Union, priding itself being the cradle of democracy.

The referendum asks the people of Thessaloniki if they want the local water company EYATH to go into private hands.


Letter to EYATH bidders after the Thessaloniki's referendum

Brussels, 22 may 2014

To the companies bidding for EYATH, the Thessaloniki Water and Sewage Company:

Thessaloniki people has spoken, please withdraw your bid

Once again, we write you to demand that you withdraw your bid for EYATH, the Thessaloniki Water and Sewage Company. On May 18th, citizens of Thesaloniki have clearly expressed their strong opposition to the privatization of the public water company in a popular consultation. The No to privatization got the support of 98%, out of 218,000 people voting.


EPSU supports NO vote in Thessaloniki Water Referendum


EPSU Press communication – 14 May 2014

EPSU supports NO vote in Thessaloniki Water Referendum; asks Suez Environment to respect outcome

  • Thessaloniki referendum on future of water company 18 May 2014
  • Local coalition campaigns for NO vote to privatisation, NO to corporate take-over
  • International team of observers will monitor referendum
  • Greek government and French multinational Suez Environment asked to respect outcome.