May 7th, 2012

Food & Water Watch Europe: What We’re Working On

By Gabriella Zanzanaini

Just days before the opening of the World Water Forum in Marseille, campaigners are getting read to attend the Alternative event taking place in parallel during the corporate Forum.

The European Coordination of the Alternative World Water Forum (FAME) — including Food and Water Europe – EPSU – AQUATTAC, Belgian Social Forum and CNCD — organized a public hearing at the European Parliament in light of the Resolution that the European Parliament is debating on March 15th regarding the World Water Forum. Meanwhile, the Alternative event today has more than 1500 registered participants while the corporate event struggles to arrive go over the 2000 participants despite the huge corporate and government funding.

The hearing in the European Parliament (EP) was organized in conjunction with the three progressive groups of the EP (Socialists and Democrats, Greens and United Left) and debated about water as a geopolitical element and how the European Commission and Council have been pushing for water privatization in countries such as Italy and Greece.

So far water has been largely outside of the internal market due to the strength of the social movements. But the big multinationals including Suez and Veolia together with the Troika (the European Central Bank, European Commission and the IMF) have been pushing for privatisation with the false argument that as a scarce resource, the market will be able to manage it more efficiently.

The Alternative World Water Forum will discuss and debate the real alternatives for water: Public-Public Partnerships,  better use of water resources, and more transparent water governance. In that regard, FAME will see the launch of the report, Our Right to Water, featuring case studies on austerity and privatization in Europe.

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