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NEWS: EU leaders under fire for pressing for water privatization in bailout deals

David Hall, Public Services International Research Unit

David Hall, Public Services International Research Unit

EurActiv reports, “European Union leaders are under fire for pressuring troubled eurozone governments to sell public water utilities as part of their bailout deals, with environmentalists and rights activists saying that privatisation will only feed public anger. …Greece hopes to raise €3.5 billion from the privatisation of energy and utility companies, while efforts to sell state and locally owned water services are gaining speed in Portugal and Spain. …David Hall, who heads the Public Services International Research Unit at the University of Greenwich, says water privatisation is a mistake both politically and operationally, leading to higher prices and disgruntled customers. ‘There is actually very strong public resistance to the idea of water privatisation, and indeed even stronger resistance to the experience of it,’ he said… Hall urged the EU to reconsider its support for privatisation.”

For more on the austerity-related proposed water utility privatizations in Europe, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14187 (about Greece) and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17036 (Spain).

The Council of Canadians recently endorsed the Right2Water campaign that calls on “the European Commission to propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation as recognised by the United Nations, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all”. More on that campaign at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=16408; our logo can be found on their web-page of supporting organizations a http://www.right2water.eu/supporting-organisations.

In March 2012, a report on the impact of austerity measures on the human right to water was produced collectively by groups in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Bulgaria in collaboration with the Blue Planet Project. To read that report, go to http://www.blueplanetproject.net/documents/RTW/RTW-Europe-1.pdf.

The EurActiv article is at http://www.euractiv.com/sustainability/eu-faces-criticism-pressing-wate-news-515320?utm_source=EurActiv.