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EUROPEAN CITIZENS' INITIATIVE : WATER: COMMISSION WILL ACT WITHIN ITS COMPETENCE.

The decision to optimise water-related services rests with the member states' public authorities

The European Commission decided to respond positively to the very first successful European citizens' initiative (ECI), but "only on aspects within its competence". In a communication adopted on 19 March(1), the Commission addressed the ECI Right2Water by initially referring to the work that the EU had already accomplished within the water and sanitation sector.

In addition to establishing high water quality standards and financial aid to improve water supply infrastructures in member states, the Commission points out that it already excluded water distribution services and waste water management from the scope of application of the free provision of cross-border services as well as those from the directive on concessions. However, the Commission specifies that the decision to optimise water-related services rests entirely with the member states' public authorities.

The Commission has also committed to taking further steps for this initiative. It will launch a public consultation this year on the quality of drinking water, laid down by Directive 98/83/EC, to determine improvements that could be made.

It will make sure that EU legislation on water is respected and improve information provided to citizens. The Commission will conduct a comparative assessment on the quality of water and have a structured discussion with involved parties on transparency in this sector. It will also encourage cooperation between existing initiatives so as to define overall, broader reference criteria for water-related services.

(1) The document is available at ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/initiatives/finalised/answered

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Publication:Europe Energy
Date:Mar 26, 2014
Words:257
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