EU Commission Forces Crisis-hit Countries to Privatise Water
(Brussels, 17 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 (see below).
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.
The civil society groups have today written to Commissioner Rehn to demand that he stop “any further pressure to impose water privatisation conditionalities” (see the letter below).
The Commission’s push for privatisation disregards the fact that water privatisation has failed to deliver results in Europe and around the world. Paris and many other cities have recently remunicipalised their water services due to negative experiences with privatisation.
See below for the full press release.
The EPSU/PSIRU publication Why water is a public service – exposing the myths of privatisation details how wrong the Commission position is.
Commission obliges crisis-hit countries to privatise water
By Anne Eckstein | Tuesday 23 October 2012
In a letter sent to Commissioner Olli Rehn on behalf of civil society,
on 17 October, Food & Water Europe and the European Federation of Public
Service Unions (EPSU) ask the commissioner to stop all pressure to
impose the privatisation of water services. This is their response to a
letter from the commissioner sent in late September confirming that the
European Commission has deliberately made the privatisation of water
services one of the conditions for financial bailouts for countries hit
hardest by the crisis. Rehn was answering a question on the Commission’s
role in the privatisation imposed by the troika in Greece, Portugal and
other aided countries.
“The Commission is pushing for privatisation without taking account of
the fact that it has not delivered results in Europe or elsewhere in the
world.” The organisations note that Paris recently re-municipalised
water services following negative privatisation experiences, that the
Netherlands adopted a law, in 2004, banning the privatisation of water
and that Italy’s Constitutional Court ruled that any legislation
attempting to privatise public services would be declared
unconstitutional. The Commission, they add, has not put forward any
evidence while numerous studies have shown that public provision is more
effective than the private sector. It is also infringing key treaty
articles whereby the EU must remain neutral on the question of water
ownership. This attitude, accuse the organisations, “shows that the
Commission is out of touch with reality and that its purely ideological
arguments are not based on substantiated facts”. They ask the Commission
to provide explanations.http://www.europolitics.info/sectorial-policies/commission-obliges-crisis-hit-countries-to-privatise-water-art344371-15.html