Thoughts on ‘how to win’: the water struggle in Greece

What does it take for a movement to actually win? Organizers in the campaign against water privatization in Greece share their story and their strategy.

The path to the privatization of water in Greece was paved by the entry into the stock market in 1999 of the two major water companies, which led to the French multinational Suez entering the market. But it is now, with the loan agreement between the Greek government and the Troika of foreign lenders, that the real sell-off is to take place. For those citizens patient enough to read the whole document, there is a clause on page 682 of Law 4046/2012 which clearly includes in the macabre long list of assets to be privatized the two biggest water companies of Greece, both profitable: EYDAP (Athens and region) and EYATH (Thessaloniki and region).

Since July 2012, when SAVEGREEKWATER.ORG, the initiative for the non-privatization of water, was launched, we have been constantly strategizing on how to stop this from happening. We have collaborated closely with members of the two unions and several other organizations in Greece and abroad, and have struggled side-by-side with other movements like Movement 136, which aims for the social management of EYATH through a cooperatives of users; SOSte to Nero, an anti-privatization front in Northern Greece; Watervolo, protecting the springs at the beautiful Pelion mountain from industrialization; and numerous other networks in Greece. Stopping privatization is a first step in a vision for a non-profit, rational and democratic management of water, but for that we might need to found NONPROFITWATER.GR, where most of us would probably romantically enrol.

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Suez “honored” the speech of Paris deputy mayor, Athens city council no!

A very negative impression was caused to bystanders and members of our initiative, by the complete absence even for reasons of protocol, of representatives of Athens Municipality at the event on the water that took place yesterday evening with keynote speaker and guest the deputy mayor of Paris, Anne Le Strat. Fortunately local government was  represented by members of the city councils of Maroussi and Pallini, two of the five municipalities of Attica that have adopted resolutions against the privatization of water services.

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Greek government owes, Greek government "regulates" !

EYDAP

Desiring to sell EYDAP cheaply the Government of Greece is trying to write off more than € 700 m of debts to the company. The Board of the Company (mostly controlled by the Government) will bring the issue in a Shareholders’ Meeting (to be held sometime in October). This way the Company’s value will be lowered by the above sum, the value of its shares will diminish, and its prospective buyers will be able to acquire it for peanuts.

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Budapest Water Summit offers mirage of water for all

It had been billed as a summit to push for universal access to water, but attending the Budapest Water Summit held last week felt like grasping at a mirage of water in a desert. The slogans and appearance were attractive, but held no prospect of delivering the human right to water for all.

Behind the mirage of the Budapest Water Summit, held in Hungary from 8-11 October 2013,  lay the same corporate players and market-driven processes that continue to deny access to the world’s most critical resource to millions of people.

The mirage was evident firstly in the process. The conference constantly emphasised its participatory nature, encouraging different stakeholders to produce recommendations for the 'Budapest Water Summit statement' that could also act as a basis for governments’ commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (due to replace the Millennium Development Goals in 2016). But this façade of consultation merely hid the real drivers of discussions and debates.

Read more on the website of the TransNational Institute

Proposal for a directive on radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption

The European Commission’s DG Energy initiated the drafting of a proposal for a directive laying down the requirements for the control of radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption. This proposal, based legally on the EURATOM Treaty (Articles 31 and 32), aims to integrate these requirements into specific legislation, in order to maintain uniformity, coherence and completeness of legislation on the protection against radiation at the EU level. In fact, these provisions supersede those related to the control of radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption of Directive 98/83/EC. It should be noted that currently Directive 98/83/EC does not require frequent monitoring on parameters for radioactivity.

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