EU citizens force water debate onto agenda
The EU Citizens' Initiative was introduced in 2012 following changes to the EU treaty that were designed to bring law-making closer to the EU's 500 million people. It gives citizens the right to make policy proposals on any issue as long as they have secured 1 million signatures spread across at least seven of the EU's 28 member states - although it does not guarantee lawmakers will pass legislation.
A public hearing on the proposal, expected in February in the European Parliament, could be heated as some member states, such as Portugal, are aiming to sell off state water companies to pay off debt, while others already have private ownership. ■