Governments and Social Movements Concerned about the Impact of CETA on Water

Brussels – As the EU Council and the European Parliament are about to vote on the free trade agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA, or the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), more questions have been raised about its impact on water as a resource and on water services. In response to a list of questions raised by the Slovenian Government to the European Commission (1), European and Canadian organizations sent a letter to EU governments raising their own concerns (2).

David Sánchez, a campaigner with Food & Water Europe said: “CETA will open the door to corporate water grabs, and push further commodification of water resources. It also creates new legal uncertainty for public authorities delivering water services.”

The EU and Canada are discussing a draft “Joint Interpretative Declaration” to be published at the time of signature of CETA. The aim would be to clarify the most controversial parts of the agreement. In the leaked first drafts possible impacts on water are denied (3).

Jutta Schutz from the European Water Movement added: “The European Commission and Canada had time enough to take water out of the treaty. Instead, they introduced dangerous provisions written in fuzzy legal terms that will only be clarified when decisions from public authorities are challenged in court. The draft joint declaration is legally uncertain and just a bad joke. If we want to consider water as a commons, and access to water as a Human Right, we need to reject CETA.”



  1. The Slovenian government raised concerns about the ambiguity of terms like “commercial use of a water source”, how the agreement applies to existing water rights and the future ability of national governments to put limits on concessions already granted without being subject to claim under ICS, among others. The document can be found here.
  2. The letter from Food & Water Europe, the Council of Canadians, the European Water Movement, Blue Planet Project and Wasser in Bürgerhand can be found in this link.
  3. A leaked draft can be checked here.


David Sánchez, campaigner, Food & Water Europe, +32 (0) 2893 1045 (land), +32 (0) 485 842 604 (mobile), dsanchez(at)

Jutta Schultz, Speakperson, European Water Movement / Wasser in Bürgerhand, +49 (0) 157 390 808 39 (mobile)