From April 2012 to September 2013 the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘Right2Water’ ran and collected 1.9 Million signatures (against the minimum requirement of 1 Million signatures) across Europe. With that result it became the first ever successful ECI. It allowed the organisers to put their issue on the European political agenda. The ECI passed the threshold in 13 countries, where the requirement was at least 7 different countries. “Right2Water” proposed in its initiative to implement the human right to water and sanitation in European legislation. Despite of the result, the response of the European Commission was “that many of the suggestions were already part of Europe’s policy” and that it would “not change or amend any existing legislation”.

The ECI stated that “Water is a public good, not a commodity”. Right2Water asked 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. The EU legislation should require governments to ensure and to provide all citizens with sufficient and clean drinking water and sanitation.”

Right2Water made three concrete suggestions how to achieve this:

  1. The EU institutions and Member States be obliged to ensure that all inhabitants enjoy the right to water and sanitation.
  2. Water supply and management of water resources not be subject to ‘internal market rules’ and that water services are excluded from liberalisation.
  3. The EU increases its efforts to achieve universal access to water and sanitation.

The ECI was supported by over 250 organisations and thousands of people that campaigned all over Europe. “Right2Water” gave a new momentum to social movements that were active on water issues and extended the focus of other social movements that did not pay attention to water until then. It united a huge diversity of organisations.