Water supply a human right but Greeks to lose their functioning utilities

European Economic and Social Committee: Plenary session of 18-19 September 2013 (EESC photo gallery).

European Economic and Social Committee: Plenary session of 18-19 September 2013 (EESC photo gallery).

Since April 2012, when the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon was actually launched, one of the more successful such efforts was the ECI “on water and sanitation as a human right”. A citizens’ initiative is an invitation for the EU to legislate in areas within its mandate. It has to be backed by at least one million EU citizens from at least seven of the 28 Member States. The initiative on water and sanitation was organised by the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), achieving a resounding success with nearly 1.9 million signatures collected before voting closed on 10 September. The threshold was exceeded in 13 Member States.

EU institutions and Member States must ensure now that all residents have access to water and sanitation; water supply and the management of water resources must be shielded from liberalisation and not be subject to single market rules. This was the key message of the report on the European Citizens’ Initiative on water and sanitation presented to the plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee on 20 September.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is a consultative body of the European Union committed to European integration. The Committee contributes to strengthening the democratic legitimacy and effectiveness of the European Union by enabling civil society organisations from the Member States to express their views at European level. Its members come from workers and employers’ groups and other various organisations.

Water for all

Carola Fishbach-Pyttel, General Secretary of the EPSU, addressed the plenary session of the EESC and spoke about the water initiative. What is really important now, Fishbach-Pyttel concluded, “is the response of the European Commission in terms of specific policy to the voice of European citizens, once the signature validation process is complete and the results have been officially presented”.

While all those good things were taking place in Brussels, the troika of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund is currently controlling the Greek economy and imposes a severe austerity programme, that has brought the country to the verge of political and social disintegration. As if this was not enough, the troika is now forcing Greece to privatise the successful water supply and sanitation companies in the two major cities of the country, in Athens (EYDAP) and Thessaloniki (EYATH).

Not for the Greeks

This exogenously imposed policy measure is even more incomprehensible, because both those companies are not losing money. The Greek people, over the years, has endowed them with huge and costly infrastructures, which now pay dividends securing proper and low-cost services. If the private operators take up the control of EYDAP and EYATH, the sure thing to happen is that prices of water and sanitation will increase and the infrastructure will be neglected. This is the obvious way for the private operators to maximise profits.

Both those companies have gone public many years ago and have a record of sound management. Their shares have a very good showing in the Athens stock exchange and there are no noticeable complaints about the quality of services. As a result, they both offer an important stream of annual profits to their largest shareholder, the Greek state. In a respect they are already semi private since a good part of their capital is held by small and big investors.

In this respect the interests of the present shareholders of the two companies will be compromised, if the firms are ‘privatised’ as the troika wants it. In reality this is not a privatisation but a gift, because the eventual buyer will be able to run the companies by acquiring a minority percentage of their capital from the Greek state, at a wholesale price and under obscure procedures, very usual in Greece.

It’s a pity at a time when this very successful citizen’s initiative has been completed and presented, the Greek people to lose their well-endowed and managed water and sanitation companies. Does the Commission and the other two decision-making EU bodies, the Parliament and the Council, accept that?

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Young people meet in Malta to shape the future of Europe

As human caravan moves through Mexico, ‘full respect’ needed for national control of borders: UN chief

‘Continue working together’ UN chief urges DR Congo, as country heads to polls

World Cancer Day: Early cervical cancer diagnosis could save lives of over 300,000 women

UN launches plan to promote peace, inclusive growth in Africa’s Sahel

UN chief calls for ‘increased commitment’ to resolution on 10th anniversary of Georgia conflict

Eurozone at risk of home-made deflation and recession

UN refugee agency ‘deeply shocked’ at stabbing death of ‘deeply courageous’ Polish mayor

Health Education, is it a necessity?

The Brussels bureaucracy blocks the Youth Guarantee scheme

A Sting Exclusive: “Leading by example! EU must push for UN deal to avoid dangerous climate change”, European Parliament Vice-President Ulrike Lunacek cries out from Brussels

10th ASEM in Milan and the importance of being one: EU’s big challenge on the way to China

How close is the new financial Armageddon? IMF gives some hints

The big five EU telecom operators in dire straights

The Brexit factor in the US-China trade war and other conflicts

Two States ‘side-by-side’ is the ‘peaceful and just solution’ for Israel-Palestine conflict: Guterres

Fresh airstrikes kill dozens in conflict-ravaged Syria

UN and partners appeal for $920 million to meet ‘dire needs’ of Rohingya refugees

Medical Education is #NotATarget

EU Ambassadors in the EP: a multilateral approach to global challenges needed

EU budget: Making the EU fit for its role as strong global actor

The movement of anti-vaccers: taking humanity back 200 years

EU Parliament: Deposit guarantee and trading platform transparency sought

Main results of Environment Council of 09 October 2018

10 cities are predicted to gain megacity status by 2030

Why Italy will not follow the Greek road; Eurozone to change or unravel

Black Panther’s ‘General Okoye’ joins the fight against gender-based violence

MEPs call on EU countries to end precarious employment practices

The battle for the 2016 EU Budget to shake the Union; Commission and Parliament vs. Germany

‘Leaders who sanction hate speech’ encourage citizens to do likewise, UN communications chief tells Holocaust remembrance event

This project in India helps people and tigers co-exist peacefully

ILO’s Bureau for Employers´Activities to publish new study on women in business and management

It’s not summer holidays what lead to the bad August of the German economy

Investing in rural women and girls, ‘essential’ for everyone’s future: UN chief

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Europe’s children urge leaders to commit to climate action at UN Climate Summit in Paris

European Commissioner for Youth wants young people to be at heart of policy making

The global economy isn’t working for women. Here’s what world leaders must do

Eurozone: Inflation plunge to 0.4% in July may trigger cataclysmic developments

How the United States can win back its manufacturing mojo

EYE to kick off on Friday: 8000+ young people discussing the future of Europe 1 – 2 June

India’s economy is growing fast, but its poorest areas lag behind. Here’s why this could be about to change

EU Copyright Directive: Google News threatens to leave Europe while media startups increasingly worry

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

How fungi could save the world

UN relief official in Yemen condemns ‘horrific’ attack on passenger buses

Nigeria: UN chief ‘appalled’ by killing of aid worker; calls for release of remaining hostages

Germany openly seeks more advantages for its banks

A young student discusses the determinants of migration in the European Union

Erdogan vies to become Middle East Sultan over Khashoggi’s killing

Robots aren’t stealing all our jobs, says the World Bank’s chief economist

EU Budget 2019 deal: EP boosts support for researchers and the young

European Commission recommends to the European Council (Article 50) to find that decisive progress has been made in Brexit negotiations

European Semester Autumn Package: Bolstering inclusive and sustainable growth

Google prepares to final EU judgement over Android antitrust case

800,000 people commit suicide every year: WHO

A day in the life of a Rohingya refugee

‘Well-being of two million’ in Gaza at stake as emergency fuel runs dry: UN humanitarian coordinator

Eurozone slowly but surely builds its Banking Union

The economic cost of anti-vaccination movements in Italy

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile World Congress shows off planes, trams and automobiles

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s