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Commission's answer and follow-up
Title: Water and sanitation are a human right! Water is a public good, not a commodity!
Current status: Answered
Commission registration number: ECI(2012)000003
Date of registration: 10/05/2012
Registration language: EN / Other languages available: BG CS DA DE EL EN ES ET FI FR GA HR HU IT LT LV MT NL PL PT RO SK SL SV

Water and sanitation are a human right! Water is a public good, not a commodity!


Right2Water was the first European Citizens' Initiative having gathered the required number of signatories. It was submitted to the Commission on 20/12/2013.  See press release.

The organisers met with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on 17/02/2014. See press release.

A public hearing took place at the European Parliament on 17/02/2014.

Answer of the European Commission:


Decision date: 19/03/2014
Official documents related to the decision:

·         Communication

·         Annex


The Commission adopted a Communication on 19/03/2014 setting out the actions it intends to take in response to the first successful European Citizen's Initiative Right2Water.

The Commission committed, in particular, to taking the following actions:

·         reinforcing implementation of EU water quality legislation, building on the commitments presented in the 7th EAP and the Water Blueprint;

·         launching an EU-wide public consultation on the Drinking Water Directive, notably in view of improving access to quality water in the EU;

·         improving transparency for urban wastewater and drinking water data management and explore the idea of benchmarking water quality;

·         bringing about a more structured dialogue between stakeholders on transparency in the water sector;

·         cooperating with existing initiatives to provide a wider set of benchmarks for water services;

·         stimulating innovative approaches for development assistance (e.g. support to partnerships between water operators and to public-public partnerships); promoting sharing of best practices between Member States (e.g. on solidarity instruments) and identifying new opportunities for cooperation;

·         advocating universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation as a priority area for Sustainable Development Goals.



This page provides regularly updated information on the follow-up actions that have been taken by the Commission and other institutions following the Commission's response.


Implementation and review of existing EU legislation:

·         The Commission announced in its annual Work Programme for 2017, that it will come forward with:

- a legislative proposal on minimum quality requirements for reused water for agriculture irrigation and aquifer recharge, and

- a revision of the Directive on drinking water as a follow-up to the "Right2Water" initiative, that will build upon the evaluation of the Drinking Water Directive carried out in 2016 and the public consultation on the Quality of Drinking Water in the EU carried out in 2014.

·         An amendment to the Drinking Water Directive aimed at improving the monitoring of drinking water across Europe come into force on 28/10/2015 (see press release).

·         The 4th European Water Conference took place in Brussels on 23-24/03/2015. The main focus was the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive, including the role of water policy in the context of economic growth.

·         The 4th implementation report on the Water Framework Directive and Floods Directive was published on 09/03/2015.

·         The Commission will prepare a review of the Water Framework Directive in line with the requirements of Article 19(2) of the Directive. 

Transparency and benchmarking

·         Stakeholder meetings on benchmarking of water quality and services took place on 09/09/2014 and 12/10/2015 in Brussels. This stakeholder dialogue is one of the actions announced in the Communication and aims to increase transparency on performance of water and sanitation services. Specific questions regarding this dialogue can be sent to All related documents can be found on the CIRCABC website.

Development cooperation and sustainable development

·         The Commission identified 'water and sanitation' as a key priority area for the post-2015 development framework in its Communication  "A Decent life for all : from vision to collective action" (COM(2014) 335) adopted on 02/06/2014. The EU efforts have substantially contributed to maintaining the universal access to water and sanitation in the list of Sustainable Development Goals in the "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" (Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all), adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25/09/2015.

·         The European Commission is also working with different partners to stimulate innovative approaches for development assistance (e.g. support to partnerships between water operators and to public-public partnerships), promote sharing of best practices between Member States (e.g. on solidarity instruments) and identify new opportunities for cooperation. This dialogue is taking place in dedicated workshops and international fora. Europaid has organised a workshop on "Innovative partnerships and financing mechanisms" as ways to promote access to drinking water and sanitation in developing countries. This event also aimed to explore the potential role of EU actors and institutions in encouraging water cooperation and the sharing of best practices. Commissioner Mimica also highlighted the EU commitment on this issue during the Thematic session on "Innovative financing for small and decentralized water and sanitation operators and actors" at the 7th World Water Forum in South Korea.

Mer information:

·         The European Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on the follow up to the European citizens' initiative Right2Water on 08/09/2015.

·         At its plenary session meeting on 15/10/2014, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted its opinion on the Commission's Communication in reply to the Right2Water initiative.