Today the environment committee in the European Parliament voted in support of the Citizens’ Initiative calling for the access to water and sanitation to be considered a fundamental right.
Welcoming the vote Ms Childers said: ‘This report had the support of the S&Ds, my political group in the European Parliament, and those of us who voted for the initiative want the exclusion of water and sanitation from market rules, and we are against any privatisation of these public services.
‘We also want the exclusion of these services from any international trade deal now and in the future, and we want special measures for people with difficulties to access water (either because they live in remote areas or because they cannot afford to pay for it).
‘The Framework Directive for water is the right legal tool to ensure that water and sanitation are included in the EU legislation and in the Charter of Fundamental rights. This is what we voted on today.
‘We hope that the Commission understands our strong demand to consider water and sanitation a public good that cannot be used for profit. This is why we also say that there should be no cuts in water supply for families going through hardship, because water management should not follow the logics of profit.
This Right2Water Citizens Initiative commenced in January 2014, and could not have come at a better time where a number of member states are seeking to privatise water and centralized the water sector as part of the austerity regime sweeping across Europe.
Ms Childers said she regretted attempts by Fine Gael’s EPP group to postpone the vote: ‘Without the right to water enshrined in EU legislation, Irish citizens could be potentially left with higher bill prices and lower quality water. The issue for me is that we keep control of access to water as a right for all citizens and that we do not commodify or liberalize access to water.
The Right To Water re
The report on the follow-up to the European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) on Right2Water, which supports the initiators’ objectives and follows the Commission’s response, was voted on by the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety today, 25.06.15. The Committee had organised the first ECI hearing on Right2Water in 2014. Focussing on global access to water and sanitation and no liberalisation of water services, this ECI generated widespread public interest across many Member States. This report will now proceed to plenary session where all MEPs will vote on the final text recommendations to the Commission.