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NEWS: Greece to fully-privatize Athens and Thessaloniki water under austerity program

Protest against the sale of water companies

Protest against the sale of water companies

Ekathimerini reports, “The (Greek) government is now examining the possibility of selling its entire stakes in the Athens and Thessaloniki water and sewage companies, EYDAP and EYATH, according to a decision by the ministerial committee for privatizations released March 1.”

The news report adds, “Until recently the two companies were to have only a part of their state stakes sold, but the appointment of consultants for their sale points to a full privatization.” In June 2011, the Guardian UK had reported, “Stakes in Thessaloniki Water are scheduled for sale (in 2011). In 2012, the pace picks up (with) stakes in Athens Water (for sale).” The Washington Post specified then that the plan was to, “Sell 27.3 percent in the Athens utility and 40 percent in Thessaloniki.”

It is expected that the call for public tender for the full-privatization of these water utilities will take place in May and that the companies will be sold by September.

The citizens movement Initiative 136 is seeking to stop the sale of the utilities and, if that fails, develop a plan for a cooperative, non-profit, social management of the utilities. The Council of Canadians may be meeting with representatives of this movement at the time of the World Water Forum in Marseille later this month.

Bloomberg additionally reports, “Greece (now) plans to sell stakes in six companies, including Opap SA and the country’s biggest refiner Hellenic Petroleum SA, in the first half of this year as it recommitted to a state-asset sales and development plan to raise 50 billion euros, according to the draft of a new financing deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Athens Water & Sewage Co SA, Thessaloniki Water & Sewage Co SA, state gas supplier Depa SA and its wholly owned gas grid operator Desfa are the other companies, according to a copy of the draft obtained by Bloomberg News. In the second half of the year Greece will issue tenders for port and airport concessions as well as for the Egnatia Odos national highway, the draft said.”

Earlier Council of Canadians campaign blogs on the sale of public water assets in Greece due to austerity measures can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?s=thessaloniki.