Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 04:37:06 AM EST
[Hoist from today's Newsroom]
Water rights e-petition first to get 1 million signatures | EurActiv
Organisers of a European Citizens’ Initiative that seeks to halt sales of public water utilities say they have gathered one million signatures from across Europe, becoming the first such group to do so since the grass-roots efforts were launched last spring.
The Water is a Human Right initiative calls for water supply and management to be exempt from European Commission liberalisation policies on the grounds that water is a public good.
The initiative also wants EU states to enact laws ensuring that everyone has a right to safe water and sanitation, and that the EU increase it development aid efforts to achieve universal water access and sanitation.
The initiative process, or ECI, was launched in 2012 under a provision of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty to encourage citizen action. ECI organisers are required to have one million signatures collected from at least seven EU states before they can submit the proposals to the European Commission for consideration as draft laws.
A Hoist from last week pointed to the directive before the European Parliament that would force municipalities to put water supply out to tender. Discussion in that thread brings up the above ECI. It's possible that the organisation of the ECI has been less efficient in some countries, and it's true that the situation with regard to privatisation of the water supply differs from country to country. But go sign the petition, they are aiming at 2 million signatures.
What got my hackles up was finding the conditions imposed by the EU for valid EU citizens' signatures. Read on for more...
I was told first that, to sign, I should choose my country of origin in the EU. Having done so, I was told that I could only sign if I was a permanent resident in that country. So I needed to choose my EU country of residence...
OK, I switch countries. And there I find that I must give a valid reference to an ID document issued by the country I reside in. The list of valid ID docs is of the kind that nationals are likely to have -- but that a resident may not necessarily have. Especially since it has been (for practically a decade) legally possible to reside in another EU country with one's passport as ID, the residence permit being the exception rather than the rule (this has been the case in France since late 2003).
Fortunately for me, I have a French driving licence and could give the number. But I could quite easily see the possibility that an EU citizen living in a member state other than that of her/is origin would be deprived of the right to sign a European Citizens' Initiative. Hey, EU! Why are you incapable of thinking mobility?