Letter to Merkel against Water Privatization

 


The European Crisis will be exacerbated by a privatisation of public services.

Dear Chancellor,

With great concern and support for the common project of a united Europe, we do not only follow the Euro-crisis but also the austerity conditionalities imposed by the EU, ECB and IMF on countries such as Greece. In particular, the commissioned privatisation of public goods, amongst them the water services, will not be favourable to the reconciliation of the Greek economy and will at best lead to a short-term decrease of debts. This is contrasted by the sell-off of core elements of public services which, with good reason, both in our constitution and in several EU treaties is given a high status. The federal government has stressed this elevated status of (German) water services in opposition to the European Commission’s strive towards liberalisation and privatisation more than once.

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EU Commission Forces Crisis-hit Countries to Privatise Water

Brussels, 17th October 2012 – The European Commission is deliberately promoting privatization of water services as one of the conditions being imposed as part of bailouts, it acknowledged in a letter to civil society groups on 26 September 2012.[1] EU Commissioner Olli Rehn's directorate was responding to questions posed in an open letter concerning the European Commission’s role in imposing privatisation through the Troika in Greece, Portugal and other countries.[2] The civil society groups have today written to Commissioner Rehn to demand that he stop “any further pressure to impose water privatisation conditionalities”.[3]

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Zurich voters veto water supply privatisation

February 10, 2019

Plans by the Zurich cantonal government to allow the partial privatisation of water utilities and to give private land owners a greater say in river and lakeshore use have failed to win voters’ approval.

Official results show 54.6% of voters in canton Zurich defying recommendations by the main centre-right parties and the business community.

The political left, supported by environmental groups, had challenged a decision by the cantonal parliament last year that allowed for private citizen involvement in maintaining the water supply. Challengers warned that the law was paving the way for multinationals to commercialise the use of drinking water.

Opponents also argued that the amended law would undermine nature protection and limit public access to lake shores.

The campaign ahead of Sunday’s ballot was marked by controversy between the canton’s political parties, which are gearing up for next month’s parliamentary elections in canton Zurich.

News from SwissInfo

Hydropower projects on the Vjosa: Bern Convention opens case-file against Albania

Strasbourg, Radolfzell, Vienna - December 3, 2018

The Bern Convention decided to open a case-file and called on the Albanian government to halt the hydropower plant projects on the Vjosa River. Instead, the government should prepare appropriate strategic environmental impact assessments and additional studies to evaluate the environmental impacts of the projected hydropower plants. The Vjosa is one of the very last unspoilt rivers of Europe. As part of the campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europe”, environmental NGOs EuroNatur (Germany), Riverwatch (Austria) and EcoAlbania fight to protect the Vjosa.

The Bern Convention is among the most important nature conservation agreements in Europe. Accordingly, the decision is a moment of joy for EcoAlbania, who had filed the complaint. “The Vjosa river network is really unique and of pan-European value. Now we and the representatives of the Bern Convention have to keep a very close eye on what steps the Albanian government will take to implement the twelve recommendations adopted by the Standing Committee”, says EcoAlbania CEO Olsi Nika.

Read more on the website of Save the Blue Heart of Europe

How Privatisation Undermines the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

Access to safe water and sanitation has long been internationally recognised as a basic human right, essential for life. But when water becomes a marketable commodity rather than a public good, it is inevitable that human rights are undermined.

End Water Poverty has consistently highlighted the importance of accountability to achieving the human right and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on water and sanitation. This raises a fundamental question: What happens to the human right to water and sanitation when a government hands accountability to a private corporation?

In September 2018, the United Nations released a groundbreaking report highlighting the detrimental effects of privatisation on human rights and the poorest in society. Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights criticised the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the UN for aggressively promoting the widespread privatisation of basic services, and governments for undermining human rights.

Read more on the website of End Water Powerty

Spain fined €12 million for failing to treat urban waste water

26 July 2018

Nearly 18 years after deadline expired, nine municipalities still lack proper collection or treatment systems.

The European Court of Justice on Wednesday ordered Spain to pay a €12 million fine for prolonged failure to comply with a European directive on urban waste water collection and treatment.

In an earlier judgment issued in 2011, this court had found that there were still 43 agglomerations with a population of 15,000 or more that failed to meet EU standards, even though member states were supposed to have adequate collection and treatment systems in place since 2001.

Spain was given a 2013 deadline to comply, but the deadline expired and 17 localities were still discharging their waste water without proper treatment.

In 2017, the EU Commission brought new action, and the Court of Justice has now fined Spain a lump sum of €12 million, plus a penalty payment of €11 million for every six-month period of delay in getting the remaining municipalities up to speed on their water treatment standards.

As of today, there are nine Spanish municipalities that still fail to meet EU urban waste water regulations: seven in Andalusia (Matalascañas, Alhaurín el Grande, Isla Cristina, Tarifa, Coín, Nerja and Barbate), one in Asturias (Gijón Este) and one in the Canary Islands (Valle de Güímar).

Read more on website of El País