the global coalition for democracy

EU Commission responds to ECI "Right2Water"

Sign up

to our news, analyses and features on direct democracy worldwide!


The logo of the ECI "Water is a human right"

EU Commission responds to ECI "Right2Water"


The European Commission today presented its official conclusion on how to proceed with the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “Water is a Human Right”, the first ECI ever that qualified for submission to the European Commission. Speaking on behalf of the EU’s executive body, EU Commissioner Maros Šefčovič announced that the Commission was going to commit to a range of measures.

These actions include the launch of an EU-wide public consultation on the Drinking Water Directive, the improvement of transparency for urban wastewater and drinking water data management as well as a more structured dialogue between stakeholders on transparency in the water sector.

The original proposals of the ECI “Water is a Human Right” (or also “Right2Water”) however were not met. The ECI’s law proposal had demanded to guarantee water and sanitation services to every EU citizen. Also, the European Commission should clearly commit not to liberalise water and sanitation services. Moreover, the EU should exclude water services from internal market rules and to keep them out of any trade agreement that the European Commission negotiates (See the key demands of the ECI “Right2Water” here). 

Today’s announcement follows a public hearing held in the European Parliament in Brussels on 17 February 2014 between the organisers of the initiative and representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament. At this meeting EU Commissioner Maros Šefčovič had promised to include all issues raised into the Communication, the official term of the type of policy document the European Commission adopted today. Accordingly, this promise also should have dealt with the pledge to make water and sanitation a human right.

Bearing in mind that a communication does not have any legally-binding effect and that today’s proposed measures did not meet the official goals of the ECI organisers, the overall effectiveness of a European Citizens’ Initiative needs to be questioned. In view of all the efforts and resources the organisers of the ECI “Water is a Human Right” put into the ECI “Right2Water” (the ECI campaign was organised under the umbrella of the strongly organised European Public Services Union and also was well funded), at this stage the future of the European Citizens’ Initiative is answered by the straight-forward (rhetorical) question: “What is easier to organise: an online petition or an ECI?”

News by Cora Pfafferott


Website Info

Democracy International is a registered association in Germany
(eingetragener Verein e.V.).

Gürzenichstraße 21 a-c
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 (0) 221 669 66 50
Fax: +49 (0) 221 669 665 99

Amtsgericht Köln
VR-Nr. 17139

Full website information here

Data protection - Datenschutz


Democracy International e.V.
IBAN: DE 58370205000001515101

Bank für Sozialwirtschaft
Konto: 1515101
BLZ: 37020500


Sign up

to our news, analyses and features on direct democracy worldwide!


Follow us