Blog Posts: Water utility

November 29th, 2017

Up to the Last Drop: The Secret Water War in Europe

By David Sánchez

Water is a human right and a common good. But it is also one of the main focuses of transnational corporations that want to profit from this scarce resource. The struggle to defend public water is now exposed in the new documentary Up to the Last Drop: The Secret Water War in Europe.

For decades, corporations have pushed for the privatization of public services – including water. In Europe, several attempts supported by the European Commission have been launched since the neoliberal wave of the 90s. Still, today some of the countries affected by the austerity crisis – Ireland, Greece, Portugal – are resisting water privatization imposed by the Troika. Water has been on the negotiation table of the new wave of free trade agreements like TTIP and TISA, and is included in CETA, which contains several provisions that put public water management and water resources under international trade and investment mechanisms.

Read the full article…

August 19th, 2015

Fracking and Europe: Shale Fail & Preparing for The 2015 Global Frackdown to Paris

Post Summer Wrap-up on Fracking in Europe

By Geert Decock

Global Frackdown to ParisDid you go ‘unplugged’ this summer, when you were walking in the mountains or hitting the beaches? Were you not checking the World Wide Web for the latest news on fracking, shale gas, unconventional oil and gas?

Not to worry, this blog will catch you up in no time.

The summer of 2015 was barely underway when the Dutch government decided that there will be no commercial shale exploration before 2020. The Dutch government first wants to get a clearer view on the transition of the Netherlands to a zero-carbon energy mix. Once the post-2020 energy mix of the Netherlands is better understood, a decision will be made whether the moratorium on shale gas continues. In any case, the licences that had been awarded to the exploration company Cuadrilla were cancelled.

Read the full article…

March 31st, 2015

When Brussels Met the Real World: The Fight for The Right2Water

By David Sánchez

FoodandWaterEuropeRight2WaterRuling a whole continent should not be easy. Even more complicated when you do it from a city like Brussels, where it is relatively simple to lose track of the reality beyond the “Brussels bubble“, a closed environment crowded by a highly educated, well-paid elite of civil servants, politicians and lobbyists. Read the full article…

March 17th, 2015

Join Me at the Right2Water Protest

Join the Right2Water Movement

By David Sánchez 

This is BIG.

The Right2Water movement is growing.

It’s easy to see why – the goals are clear:

1. Guaranteed water and sanitation for all in Europe.

2. No privatisation of water services.

3. Universal access to water and sanitation for all.

On 23 March 2015, people will come from across Europe to mobilise in Brussels. Our mission is to remind the European Commission that they work for us and not for corporations!

This is a critical time to gather and speak out. We gathered 2 million signatures but the European Commission did nothing. And the European Parliament is preparing a resolution in defense of the human right to water.

I’ll be there on 23 March, chanting, “We want the Human Right to Water and we want it now!”

Will you join me?

Learn more and RSVP to attend.

November 21st, 2014

The Last Straw for Irish Citizens: The Struggle Against Water Charges

By David Sánchez 

Supporting the Irish Right2WaterA European country in crisis. Men in black come to the rescue. With the complicity of the national government, they impose painful measures on the population. Men in black never forget to be nice to their friends, so the measures include a provision to privatise public water services. As a reaction, massive citizen’s mobilisations take place. The story sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

We have already experienced this situation in Greece, and just a few months ago, Greek citizens won the battle, and water will remain in public hands. Now history repeats itself, and the struggle against water privatisation and commodification is at boiling point in Ireland. Read the full article…

September 2nd, 2014

Citizens Won: Greek Water Remains in Public Hands

By David Sánchez

Referendum about water privatization in Thessaloniki, Greece. Credit: Save Greek Water

Referendum about water privatisation in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Credit: Save Greek Water

There is an ongoing struggle in southern Europe, where water privatisation is promoted as a way out of the economic crisis. But this summer, a turnaround victory was achieved in Greece: the Council of State ruled against the privatisation of Greek public water companies. Citizens have shown, again, that privatisation can be defeated through a combination of grassroots mobilisation, legal actions and international solidarity.

The story goes back some years ago. Under conditions imposed by the Troika (which includes the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank) to reduce Greece’s debt, public water companies in Athens and Thessaloniki were about to be privatised by the government, among other painful and socially unfair measures.

The mobilisation against this measure was massive, and great campaigns were launched in Athens, with a great success in media, and Thessaloniki, where a popular referendum showed an overwhelming opposition to water privatisation. A solidarity effort was coordinated by the European Water Movement (Food & Water Europe is an active member). Over 130 civil society organisations and trade unions teamed up with 50 members of the European Parliament to send a letter to the bidders of the public water company in Thessaloniki urging them to drop their bid. Those companies included French multinational Suez Environnement and Israeli group Mekorot. The situation in Greece was central in the campaign for the European Citizen’s Initiative that collected nearly 1.9 million signatures to support the human right to water and to stop liberalisation in the water sector.

This victory in Greece sends a clear signal to the European Commission and to the transnational water companies that were trying to make profit out of Greek crisis. The myth that people cannot resist against the Troika’s demands has collapsed. And as our colleagues from Save Greek Water say: “we can all, without exceptions, feel proud of this major victory.”

While we definitely celebrate this new major step to stop water privatisation in Europe, we are aware that we cannot be naïve. Public water management is still under threat in Greece and the rest of Europe as long as the European Union and the U.S. negotiate a new free trade agreement (known as TTIP or TAFTA), as long as the Troika pushes for water privatisation in many other countries, and as long as the European Commission goes on with their liberalisation agenda. These threats will require renewed mobilisation for the recognition of water as a human right and a common good.

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