Drinking water to be made constitutional right
The proposal to declare access to safe drinking water a fundamental right and determine that drinking water supply must be a non-profit public service has been put forward by a group of 26 MPs.
"Our goal is clear. Water is a common good that mustn't be exploited for profit," said the lead sponsor of the motion, unaffiliated MP Alenka Bratušek.
She said that reasons for preventing drinking water from being used as commodity were more than enough, while jurists should find the best way to put that down into the Constitution during the procedure.
The proposal to start the procedure was backed by all deputy factions bar the opposition Democrats (SDS), who abstained on the grounds that the amendment was unnecessary.
Their MP Branko Grims argued that natural resources were already constitutionally protected; "you just need to read the Constitution", while the motion was just about scoring political points.
In a similar vein, Jožef Horvat from the fellow opposition New Slovenia (NSi) opined that the proposed wording was intended to please, but would have important legal ramifications.
He said that the right to drinking water was obvious in a normal country, that its entry into the Constitution was not harmful, but was not absolutely necessary.
Other MPs argued that it was necessary to write down clearly that the supply of the population with drinking water should take priority over utilisation for other purposes.
The idea was also backed by Environment Minister Irena Majcen, who said Slovenia would follow top international standards in the field.
By enshrining the right to drinking water in the Constitution, Slovenia would become the second EU nation after Slovakia to protect its water resources at the top level.