As ECI right2water continues to gain strength, EU politicians pledge not to privatise water services

(27 February 2013) The first ever European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to collect over 1 million signatures welcomes the political debate that is taking place all over Europe on water and sanitation. The positive impact of the citizens’ mobilisation is already being felt in many member states and at  EU level.

The Citizens Committee of the ECI notes that European Commissioner Michel Barnier has declared that ‘the directive [concessions Directive] does not impose privatisation of water and he recognizes water is a common good’. This is welcome as many citizens have indicated to us that they are concerned that water services might be privatised by their municipality, government or the European Commission and they do not agree.

Against a background of continued liberalization of public services driven by the European Commission, a public statement is not good enough.  We  want to see concrete commitments and action to make crystal clear that water services will not be liberalized.

The public debate demonstrates that water needs to be recognised as a Human Right in the basic law of the European Union ensuring that no double discourse can take place. Water and sanitation services are a common good and European Union law should state this.

On the week of March 22, World Water day, supporters of the ECI will be organizing events in many countries to collect signatures and celebrate the historic success of this European Citizens Initiative.