The European Parliament (EP) plenary session today called for greater public access to drinking water and proposed that bars and restaurants offer tap water for free or for a small amount throughout the European Union.
The MEPs demanded that the Member States take measures to guarantee access to drinking water in the EU and proposed, in particular, the installation of free sources in public spaces, provided it is technically feasible.
Also, the bill toughens the limits of presence in the water of certain pollutants such as lead (which will be halved), endocrine disruptors or bacteria such as legionella.
The EP points out that increasing citizens' trust in the quality of tap water should help reduce the use of plastic containers.
According to the European Commission, consuming less bottled water would allow households in the EU to save up to 600 million euros per year. Plastic bottles are one of the most common single-use products and often end up on beaches or seas.
The legal proposal went ahead with 300 votes in favor, 98 against and 274 abstentions.
After today's vote and once the ministers have agreed on their negotiating position, the Parliament and the Council of the EU will be able to begin talks on the final formulation of the legislation.
This proposal on water is the first one that the European Commission has promoted based on a European Citizen Initiative.
After the vote, Socialist MEP Soledad Cabezón regretted that the proposal was not more ambitious because of the "right" of the European Parliament and recognized access to water "as a right of all citizens."
For its part, the popular Pilar Ayuso argued that "redundant or excessive obligations" to water distributors should not be established as this could have an impact on the increase in the final price for citizens.