On Tuesday 8 September 2015, the European Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on the follow-up to the European Citizen Initiative (ECI) Right2Water. Aqua Publica Europea, the European Association of Public Water Operators, welcomes the text adopted by the European Parliament, as it provides a very positive answer to the expectations of almost 2 million European citizens who asked the EU to recognise the access to water as a human right.
With this vote, MEPs responded positively to citizens’ demands for participation in the EU policy-making process. The strong mobilisation underpinning the success of the Right2Water, as well as the passionate discussion in the EP, show indeed that water is an important political issue, which needs to be addressed through public debate.
Aqua Publica Europea supported the development of the initiative and very much welcomes the renewed interest in water policy that it has brought about. Indeed, public water operators are persuaded that an effective and equitable management of water resources can only be ensured through an informed decision-making process and through inclusive governance based on stakeholders’ and citizens’ participation.
In its resolution, the European Parliament requests the European Commission and the Member States to increase their efforts to recognise the right to water in EU legislation and combine the protection of water resources with the access to safe drinking water and sanitation for all EU citizens; ensure adequate financing for investments and a fair participation of different uses to the cost recovery of water services; promote water efficiency; acknowledge the specific characteristics of water provision services and the subsidiarity principle as regards the choice of the management model, and increase resources for international cooperation to make MDG/SDG on water a reality.
APE is persuaded that the realisation of this ambitious agenda represents one of the essential conditions to achieve a sustainable development for current and future generations. In this framework, the contribution of all institutional levels and stakeholders is of the essence.
Right2Water has been the first successful ECI. The support that this initiative has received suggests that there is a widespread expectation among citizens regarding the capacity of the European Union to ensure an appropriate management of this fundamental resource.