Brussels – Food & Water Europe welcomes the initiative of five MEPs who today launched a written declaration in the European Parliament to fight the privatisation of water resources. Together the MEPs, Giommaria Uggias, François Alfonsi, Véronique de Keyser, João Ferreira and Niccolò Rinaldi have reaffirmed the importance of the protection of water as a public asset.
“Claims that privatization would bring efficiency and better service have not materialized,” says Food & Water Europe Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Instead, we have seen communities suffering from numerous problems including poor maintenance and rising bills, demonstrating why the movement to stop the privatization of water is gaining momentum around the world.”
The privatization of water began in Europe, but this so-called “French Model” of private water management is being rejected on its home turf. Numerous municipalities around France are fighting for a return to public water, and in one of the most high-profile cases, its capital Paris ended its contract with Veolia and returned to public water this year.
Elsewhere around Europe, a similar trend has been brewing; in Italy more than 1.4 million people signed a petition calling for a referendum against the privatization of their water services.
The failures of water privatization don’t stop at Europe. In the United States, the city of Atlanta ended its water contract with United Water 16 years early due to delayed repairs, lost jobs, inadequate responses to emergencies and charges to the city for work not done.
In Latin America, in La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia, privatization of public water services (pushed by the World Bank and IMF) worsened access to water for poor communities who couldn’t pay. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, after a week of multiple protests, the president of Bolivia was forced to terminate its water privatization contract with Aguas del Tunari, a subsidiary of Bechtel.
“The privatization of water has simply been a failure everywhere in the world. It has failed in the global south, it has failed in the United States and it is not working in the EU,” says Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Europe.
“It is crucial that all MEPs in the European Parliament sign this written declaration to send a clear message that water is not for profit and that access to water needs to be protected as an affordable public good and part of the global commons,” urged Gabriella Zanzanaini, Director of European Affairs for Food & Water Europe.
Food & Water Europe is a program of Food & Water Watch, Inc., a non-profit consumer NGO based in Washington, D.C., working to ensure clean water and safe food in Europe and around the world. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.
Contact: Gabriella Zanzanaini, +32488409662, gzanzanaini(at)fweurope.org