Communication from the Commission on the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Water and sanitation are a human right! Water is a public good, not a commodity!’

Author (Corporate)
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Series Details (2014) 177 final (19.03.14)
Publication Date 19/03/2014
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The European Citizens' Initiative, introduced by the Lisbon Treaty to encourage a greater democratic involvement of citizens in European affairs, allows one million citizens of the European Union (EU), coming from at least seven Member States, to call on the European Commission to propose legislation on matters of EU competence. It is the first ever participatory democracy instrument at EU level. Since its launch in April 2012 more than 5 million citizens have signed up to over 20 different initiatives.

‘Right2Water’ is the first European Citizens' Initiative to have met the requirements set out in the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on the citizens' initiative. It was officially submitted to the Commission by its organisers on 20 December 2013, after having received the support of more than 1.6 million citizens.

In line with the provisions of the Regulation on the citizens' initiative, the Commission has three months to present its response to this initiative in a Communication setting out ‘its legal and political conclusions on the initiative, the action it intends to take, if any, and its reasons for taking or not taking that action’.

The Commission received the organisers on 17 February 2014 and, on the same day, the organisers were given the opportunity to present their initiative at a public hearing organised at the European Parliament. Annex I provides further information on the procedural aspects of this first citizens' initiative.

The Right2Water initiative invites the Commission ‘to propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation, as recognized by the United Nations, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all’.

The initiative raises cross-cutting issues, covering a wide range of policies at EU and Member States level. It must be considered in accordance with EU Treaty rules, including notably the principles of conferral, proportionality and subsidiarity.

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Related Link(s)
EUR-Lex: COM(2014)177: Follow the progress of this communication through the decision-making process
ESO: Background information: Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič receives organisers of the first successful European Citizens' Initiative / Parliament kicks off debate on the legal right to water
ESO: Background information: Commission says yes to first successful European Citizens' Initiative

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