Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Secret EU plans to privatise water

Secret plans of EU Commission to privatise water leads to support for campaign over Water as a Human right

A German comedian took the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) center stage on TV Tuesday evening, Erwin Pelzig, a celebrated comedian pointed his audience to the secret plan of the European Commission to privatise water services. The German TV programme Monitor   (EN subtitles) had revealed earlier how new EU rules could lead to more privatisation of water services. It also showed how the EU Commission has put private water company representatives in a number of crucial expert groups that advise the Commission. Their advice is predictable: introduce more competition. It is only the latest in a series of attempts of the Commission to push for private water in the EU. A letter  of the European Commission’s Greek desk in response to EPSU and other groups underlines how ideological the approach of the Commission is. It believes private water services will deliver more.  And now the Greek government is pushing for the privatisation of the publicly owned water companies of Athens and Thessaloniki. In the autumn 51% of the shares should be brought on the market.

Trade unions, anti-poverty campaigners and many others do know what that means: it leads to increased prices and higher profits for the private water industry as ample evidence including from the London based research group PSIRU  has demonstrated.  Erwin Pelzig underlined this also in his show on ZDF. He is upset that the Commission plans will lead to price increases for something as crucial as water. And he did a remarkable thing at the end of the broadcast. He first told his audience that he could not show the website of the European Citizens Initiative. The rules of the public broadcasting company prevent this. He then says that the rules do allow how to show a car. He walks to the car, pulls out a placard and puts that in front of the car. It shows the website of the European Citizens Initiative while the audience exploded in applause and laughter. That same day 100.000 mainly German but also some Austrians signed up.  

UNISON supports the European Citizens Initiative and Dave Prentis is a member of the organising committee. But we need more people from the UK to sign up. People sign up electronically to make sure that water becomes a Human Right and is not for sale.  The initiative demands that the European Commission stops plans to liberalise water services. Together with workers and citizens we seek to achieve 1 million signatures. Signing up is really easy. Please go to the website:   at the end of the page click on support, select UK and sign up to the initiative.  We need your voice.

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