Campaign ‘right2water’ is over, Lobby continues.

(15 April 2014) News Splash n° 25: On 19 March,  the European Commission published its Communication in reply to our successful European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). The Communication recalls the importance of the human right to water and sanitation and states the importance of water as a public good and fundamental value and that “water  is not a commercial product”.  While, this is not a policy change,  it is a change in language about water.

Furthermore, the Commission refers to the Concessions directive from which, thanks to our ECI, water services were excluded. It also recognizes that the provision of water services is the responsibility of local authorities which are closest to citizens. This confirms the trend towards re-municipalisation across Europe. The Commission will encourage Member States to fulfil their obligations to realize the human right to water and sanitation for all inhabitants. We had hoped for something stronger than this recognition and encouragement.  And, unfortunately, the Commission’s Communication makes no commitment to explicitly exclude water services from trade negotiations such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

We do, however, welcome the Commission’s commitment to promote universal access to water and sanitation in its development policies and to promote public-public partnerships. This also reflects a change in language and a fundamental shift away from pro-privatization policies. These outcomes would not have been possible without the support of YOU and the nearly two million people that raised their voice to say: Water is a human right and a public good, NOT a commodity! Attached is the full response of the Commission.

We will keep track of the actions that the Commission plans to take and we know that our lobbying must continue, in the same way as we know that multinational enterprises will continue their lobbying to commercialise water. One of our recent initiatives was to ask candidates for presidency of the next Commission to make a commitment to the human right to water.

For the upcoming European elections we would like to encourage you to vote for a candidate that supports our ECI: Water is a human right and a public good!