Ahead of Saturday demonstration, European Water Movement hails Irish battle for our Right2Water

Thursday September 15th 2016

The European Water Movement says Irish campaign to forefront of “European movement to democratise water” and funding through progressive taxation best way to secure human right to water.

Ahead of the national Right2Water demonstration set to take place this coming Saturday (September 17th), the European Water Movement today said that the Irish Right2Water movement forms part of “a real movement of people to democratise water management and achieve the human right to water that no country in the EU has yet implemented”.

The European Water Movement, a network of organisations whose goal is to reinforce the recognition of water as a commons and access to water as a fundamental universal right, made a submission to the Expert Commission on Water which is available here.

In a statement issued today, the European Water Movement said: “It is clear that the best method of securing access to water, and securing funds for infrastructural investment, is through general taxation“. “The European Water Movement views the struggle of the Irish people to abolish water charges, and to secure a referendum enshrining public ownership of Ireland’s water system, as yet more evidence of a real European people’s movement to democratise water management. Ireland’s Right2Water campaign, like other campaigns throughout Europe, is seeking to achieve the human right to water that no country in the EU has yet implemented. Right2Water is to the forefront of this growing movement”, the statement concluded.

For further information contact :
David Gibney - Right2Water, Tel. 087-1324140
David Sanchez - European Water Movement, Tel. +32 (0) 2893 1045

Time to Act on Right2Water

The European Commission Must Finally Take Action

Together, we have been campaigning for many years to implement the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in Europe. We collected signatures — nearly 2 million. In December 2013 we delivered them to the European Commission, which disappointed all of us with their answer. With your support, we campaigned to get a strong resolution from the European Parliament in 2015. Our demands were also backed by the European Economic and Social Committee.


Letter to commissioner Vella

Brussels, November 23rd 2015

Dear Commissioner Vella,

The European Water Movement is asking your support for a substantial implementation of the report of the European Parliament on the European Citizens Initiative Right2Water. We supported this ECI. It was the first ever-successful ECI after receiving the support of almost 1.9 million citizens across the EU. The Parliament adopted its position on this ECI in its resolution on 8 September 2015. It outlined specific proposals that must be enacted in order to achieve the goals of the ECI. Mainly, the text calls for the full implementation of the human right to water and sanitation as recognized by the UN in the EU, the exclusion of water and sanitation services from trade agreements, and that there will be no liberalisation of water and sanitation services in the EU. And this includes also keeping water and sanitation services outside of the scope of the concessions directive. The Parliament also made a strong call to the Commission to abstain from pushing for water privatization in the context of austerity measures in Greece, despite overwhelming public opposition.


World Wetlands Day: The European Water Movement calls to defend the Ebro Delta

Brussels, february 2nd 2016


The Ebro River is the third longest river in the Mediterranean, after the Rhone and the Nile, passing through 9 nine Autonomous Communities before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea where it forms the Ebro Delta (Catalonia).

The Ebro Delta is one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in Europe. This delta area of nearly 8000 Ha was declared as National Park, recognized as being of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention on wetlands, recognized as Special Protection Area for Birds (SPAB - 79/409/CEE), a Community Interest Area (CIA - 85/337/EEC) and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.


The intense water consumption throughout the Ebro Basin puts the river under strong pressure and affects its ecological functionality. In particular, the Delta is the most vulnerable part of the river, altered by the drastic reduction of water and sediment flows that leads to the subsidence of the whole delta area, currently lowering at a rate of 0,3 cm per year. Climate change projections clearly indicate that this phenomenon, together with the sea level rise, will cause the disappearance of 80% of this territory in the next century.


The Free Trade agreement between the EU and Canada threatens water management

Brussels, 30 October 2015.

During the secret negotiations of the free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada (know as CETA), the European Commission always maintained that water would be excluded from the treaty, and that the choice on how to manage Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) related to water (production and distribution of drinking water and sanitation, among others) by the public authorities would not be questioned. But a careful reading of the consolidated text of CETA, released the 26th of September of 2014 shows that the reality is different.

Rights and Obligations Relating to Water

The article "Rights and Obligations Relating to Water" is written in fuzzy legal terms, sometimes even in contradiction with EU and national legislation. No doubt the vagueness and loopholes in this article will facilitate a corporate capture of water by multinational companies in Europe and Canada. The article states that "water in its natural state [...] is not a good or a product and therefore [...] is not subject to the terms of this Agreement." But almost all water uses (drinking water, sanitation or agricultural irrigation) involves water extracted from its natural environment. It could, therefore, be considered as a good and a product, and could be treated as a commodity and therefore subject to CETA. The article adds: " Where a Party permits the commercial use of a specific water source, it shall do so in a manner consistent with the Agreement" without clearly defining what is a "commercial use” for water or a "specific water source." Currently it is up to Member States in Europe to allocate water abstraction rights and they do so by different criteria, but not with criteria based on trade and investment that can be found in free trade agreements. Under these conditions there is no other way to read this article as anything but one additional tool to move towards an increased water commodification.