Brussels, 11 February 2013
European Citizens' Initiative hits 1 million signatures
Organisers of the Right2Water initiative have announced that they have collected more than one million signatures: it could be the first European Citizens' Initiative to succeed in collecting the necessary number of statements of support. Organisers of the initiative believe that 'water is a public good, not a commodity'. They invite the European Commission to 'propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation as recognised by the United Nations, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all'.
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: "First of all, I would like to congratulate the organisers. Although the signatures will need to be verified, collecting 1 million signatures in fewer than six months is a real achievement.
"The goal of European Citizens' Initiatives is to spark pan-European debates on issues that concern citizens across Europe, and get those issues onto the EU agenda. Right2Water has certainly achieved that."
Although the organisers could submit their initiative to the European Commission, they have chosen to continue collecting signatures.
However, before submitting their initiative to the European Commission, the number of statements of support they have collected will have to be certified by the competent authorities in the Member States. For initiatives that have collected at least one million signatures, achieving the minimum number required in at least seven Member States, the Commission will have three months to examine the initiative and decide how to act on it. It will meet the organisers so they can explain the issues raised in their initiative in more depth. The organisers will also have the opportunity to present their initiative at a public hearing organised at the European Parliament.
The Commission will then adopt a Communication explaining its conclusions on the initiative, what action it intends to take, if any, and its reasoning.
The Commission offered to host ECIs on its own servers in July 2012, as a radical response to issues reported by some organisers in finding suitable hosting solutions and setting up their online collection systems. However, Right2Water is using a private hosting solution, as well as the open-source online collection system software provided by the Commission for free.
European Citizens' Initiative website:
Commissioner Barnier's website on water services: