23rd March 2014

First European Citizens´ Initiative accepted by the EC

The first-ever successful European Citizens´ Initiative (ECI) Right2Water has been accepted by the European Commission. The ECI is a new tool for the public to raise policy issues on the EU level. An initiative has to be supported by at least 1 million citizens in at least one quarter of the Member States. The Right2Water initiative reached the threshold and submitted the cause to the EC which has to react to it and either accept it or take no further action. Regarding Right2Water, asking that all EU citizens have right to water and sanitation, that drinking water is excluded from the liberalization on the Single Market and that EU takes action to promote right to water and sanitation globally, the EC has assessed its competence in the area, its past actions and concluded that further steps could be taken in the issue, thus accepting the initiative. Water distribution is already excluded from the cross-border freedom to provide services. But a new Drinking Water Directive could be adopted in the future and for this reason the EC launches public consultation. Also, the idea to benchmark water quality will be explored. More similar initiatives are gathering signatures at the moment and it can be expected that the EC will be obliged to react to several of them in the future.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic