The 'Right2Water' campaign: EP hearing on first European Citizens' Initiative 

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Parliament is to hold a public hearing next Monday on the universal right to clean water, the first EP hearing under the European Citizens' Initiative allowing the public to ask the EU authorities for new legislation.

The "Right2Water" campaign group has gathered almost two million signatures to its initiative calling on the Commission to draw up legislation to ensure universal access to adequate supplies of clean drinking water and sanitation throughout the EU. It will present its demands at the first ever European Citizens' Initiative hearing.

The campaigners point out that universal access to water is a human right enshrined by the UN. They will present their three key goals at the hearing, which are: “guaranteed water and sanitation for all in the EU”, “global access to water and sanitation for all” and “no liberalisation of water services”. They promote the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all and believe that these services should not be subject to EU internal market rules.

The public hearing, organised by Parliament's environment committee in association with the petitions, internal market and consumer protection and development committees and starting at 15.00 on Monday, 17 February, follows up the registration of the initiative by the Commission on 20 December 2013. It will provide a platform for debate with MEPs, the leaders of the ‘Right2Water’ initiative and representatives of the European Commission.

Citizens' Initiative

The Citizens' Initiative was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty and gives EU citizens who are eligible to vote in the European elections an opportunity to help shape the EU agenda. To qualify, a Citizens' Initiative must be signed by at least one million EU citizens, from at least seven of the 28 member states, within 12 months of the registration date. It must also fall within the Commission's remit.