Poll: Should restaurants be obliged to give free tap water to everyone?

Businesses are railing against a proposal that says they should provide drinks to non-customers.

By Conor McMahon Reporter, Fora

AN UMBRELLA GROUP that represents Europe’s hospitality sector is rallying against an EU proposal that would require restaurants to provide free tap water to all members of the public.

Hotrec – which counts the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) as a member-organisation – has launched a lobbying effort urging MEPs to tone down the proposed amendment to a directive governing the quality of drinking water across the trade bloc.

Speaking to Fora, RAI chief Adrian Cummins said the amendment should clarify that free tap water be made available to paying customers only. In its current format, the new rule would place an unfair extra burden on businesses, it has been claimed.

However, supporters of the EU proposal say it will improve equality across the bloc because millions of citizens don’t have access to public water supplies.

They also argue that it would help drive down the use of single-use plastics because fewer people would buy bottled mineral water.

With that in mind, we’re asking Fora readers this week: Should restaurants be obliged to give free tap water to everyone?