Greece to become first European country to recognize Human Right to Water?

(18 May 2015) A year after the popular consultation that the people of Thessaloniki organised about the plans of the previous Greek government to privatise water (18 May 2014), the President of the Greek Parliament Zoi Konstantopoulou has solemnly pledged her support to the implementation of the Human Right to Water as a just societal demand. It means she will help steer an endorsement through the full Parliament. She made the announcement at a meeting of the Thessaloniki City Council and wants Greece to become the first country to recognise the right.

The President of the Parliament declared she is open to the demands of social movements and supports the Right to Water movement. That movement supported by EPSU brought about the first ever successful European Citizens Initiative. Her landmark declaration shows the European Commission that it was wrong not to introduce legislation to recognise this right following the ECI that collected nearly 1.9 million signatures. The issue is still very much alive for Europe’s citizens.

Members of the European Parliament will be voting on a report on the ECI Right2Water in the forthcoming weeks. The draft report asks the European Commission to recognise and implement the Human Right to water and sanitation as defined by the UN Declaration of 2010 in the EU.

The landmark declaration came about through a joint effort of European civil society (the Right2Water ECI, the European water movement and EPSU) with its local allies (the unions of EYDAP, EYATH and POE-DEIA as well as groups such as SOSte to Nero and others fighting for the implementation of human rights). Today Greece has sent a message of hope to millions of citizens in Europe that have fought and are fighting against liberalisation and privatisation of water. Water is a common good.