Parliament unanimously approves “Water is ours” citizen’s initiative

by DailyBriefers
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Vettä kaadetaan juomalasiin.
The citizen’s initiative was launched in response to the City of Jyväskylä’s plans to sell a minority stake in its water and energy company.

Image: Derrick Frilund / Yle

A citizen’s initiative entitled ‘Water is ours’ (Finnish: Vesi on meidän) has been unanimously approved by Parliament.

The initiative had sought to prevent the privatisation of Finland’s water supply, and to date is the first such citizen’s initiative to receive unanimous backing by MPs. Parliament has previously approved only two other citizens’ initiatives.

The proposal was brought to Parliament after collecting more than 89,000 signatures, well over the required 50,000 threshold.

The ‘Water is ours’ initiative was launched by six members of the Left Alliance Party from across Finland, including Olli Kohonen, chair of the party’s Northern Ostrobothnia branch.

The privatisation of water supply has led to rising water prices, the Left Alliance politicians argued, negatively affecting the quality of the water as well as the environment.

“Prices have risen, the level of service has suffered, and the environment has suffered. Health security, which is becoming increasingly important today, could be a problem if water supply were given to an operator who wants to make a profit from it,” Kohonen said at the time the initiative was passed to Parliament.

Kohonen initially began the initiative after learning about the City of Jyväskylä’s plans to sell a minority stake in its water and energy company last year.

The approved initiative will now enter the legislative process of being turned into a bill, which will be debated and voted on by Parliament at a later date.

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