4 out of 5 candidates for European Commission President commit to implementing the Human Right to Water

(Brussels 26 March 2014, Press Communication) The first successful European Citizens Initiative was replied to by the European Commission with a Communication on March 19th. With less than 60 days to go before the European elections, the citizens committee has approached all candidates for the European Commission Presidency to ask for a commitment to implement the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in the next legislature. The ECI organisers were critical of the Commission's response as it lacked clear proposals for legislation.  

The candidates of the Greens Ska Keller, the Social-democrats Martin Schulz, Christian-democrats Jean-Claude Juncker and the European Left Alexis Tsipras, who even made a videoclip, all came out in full support for the ECI Right2Water (see the precise statements of support attached below).

‘Following the successful Right2Water campaign, EU water policy will never be the same’ says Jan Willem Goudriaan vice-President of the citizens committee  "People do have clear ideas what they expect of the EU. It is encouraging that four out of five political families in Europe commit to implementing the Human Right to Water, indicative of the level of support for our demands’.

The Right2Water European Citizens' Initiative collected 1.9 million signatures and asked the European Commission to come forward with legislation to implement the Human Right to Water and Sanitation based on the UN resolution of 2010 in the European Union. The ECI further wants to prevent liberalisation of EU water services, for example through trade agreements like those currently being discussed between the EU and Canada and EU and United States.

Only the liberal candidate, Guy Verhofstadt, did not commit  although contacted, to the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. This might reflect the position of the German ALDE member FDP whose former leader has said that water is like bread for which there are also markets. Or the position of current liberal Commissioner Olli Rehn, responsible for Europe's economic policy and the Troika that has been endorsing privatisation of water services in Greece and Portugal for example. Or that ALDE does not agree with the ECI and does want water services in the EU to be opened up to competition. A small number of individual ALDE MEPs have expressed support for the ECI.

The ECI right2water will continue its campaigning to make the issue of water as a Human Right a public debate across Europe.

Contact : Pablo Sanchez, psanchez@epsu.org, 0032 474 62 66 33