First ECI Hearing Ever for Right2Water

2014-02-13 News

The Public Hearing for ECI Right2Water – Europe’s first successful European Citizens’ Initiative – will take place Monday, 17 February from 15h00 to 18h30, in room JAN4Q2 in the European Parliament. It will be chaired by the Environment Committee and will also involve the Petitions Committee (PETI), the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), and the Development Committee (DEVE). Over 300 people from across Europe have registered to follow the debate in Brussels. The event also is web-streamed.

The hearing will be divided into three parts according to the comprehensive objectives of ECI Right2Water:

Part 1: Guaranteed water and sanitation for all in the EU
Part 2: Global access to water and sanitation for all
Part 3: No liberalization of water services

According to the current plans the hearing will be held in the presence of Commission Vice-President Sefcovic for each of the three panels. Further Commission presence at highest level is expected. On 20 March 2014, the European Commission will finally decide whether to pursue Right2Water’s goals or not.

The ECI Right2Water is given several slots during the hearing to explain its initiative and formulate final remarks. The European Parliament only allows members of the Citizens’ Committee of Right2Water to provide answers for each round of questions – additional experts, as was proposed by the ECI Right2Water, are not allowed.

Why is this ECI Hearing so Important?

The entire community of ECI and democracy activists including all ongoing ECIs is carefully observing the outcome of this very first hearing. It is one of the most important moments within the cumbersome ECI procedure and will showcase whether the EU institutions, namely the EU Commission, take the citizens of a successful ECI seriously. EU institutions have always promised that the ECI is to have real impact on EU politics. By March 20th the EU Commission will finally decide if they will take any action. Only if this is the case can we expect more European Citizens’ Initiative to come in the near future. Otherwise it will cause even more frustration over the EU. This is all the more important as the rules and practical implementation of the ECI instrument have significant weaknesses, as ongoing ECIs – including Right2Water – have revealed at our recent conference. These improvements need to be prepared now so that the weaknesses can be fixed via a joint Council-Parliament decision on the regulation in the context of the official review in 2015. See The ECI Campaigns proposals for revision here.

If you want to participate in the first ECI hearing and do not have a badge to enter Parliament’s premises register here. Online registration closes on 7 February 2014 at 13:00 hrs. The hearing will be web-streamed. More information on the Parliament’s website here.

For more details and background connected to the ECI Right2Water see our following publications:

EU Commission’s reactions when Right2Water announced its success

– Case Study on Water ECI explaining the success of this ECI

– A new Background Paper by the European Parliament (February 14th)

Distribution list of signatures