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[box] In an impressive strategy move, Movement 136 from Thessaloniki, finds the funds needed to participate in the tender for the sale of EYATH. Despite the doubts in theory as for example the fact that since the company is public we are already all “shareholders” , so basically we re-buy something that belongs to us already, and despite other reservations regarding the “noble intentions” of the funders, from a realistic prospect, this move is an answer in “market” terms so that the water company of Thessaloniki does not pass easily into the hands of Suez and Aktor. It’s probably a checkmate move in a condition where the unconstitutionality and the legal struggles but also the democratic consensus of citizens is “postponed” for the future, and where the state of emergency has become nothing less than permanent. Hopefully the referendum announced by the municipality of Thessaloniki will be also decisive for not privatizing the company eventually, though unfortunately it is not legally binding for the government.[/box]
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Republication from enet
Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates has come out in support of an initiative taken by Thessaloniki citizens to acquire a 51% stake in the city’s public water company Eyath, which the government is seeking to privatise.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose primary aim is to enhance world healthcare, is among 22 international organisations supporting the citizens’ movement, known as Initiative 136.
The government last February announced a public tender to sell the controlling stake in Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage (Eyath).
Initiative 136 is among four investment groups that have expressed interest in the international tender for the purchase of a 51% stake in the company.
The citizens’ initiative opposes the privatisation of the company and proposes its social management through local-level cooperatives.
The name of the initiative comes from dividing the estimated value of Eyath by the number of users, which produces the symbolic number of €136.
According to the initiative’s manifesto, the government’s privatisation plan for Eyath “is another case of implementation of the model ‘privatisation of the profits, socialisation of the loss'”.
“Water is the ultimate commodity that nature offers us and the United Nations has recognised that the access to clean water and sanitation is a human right,” Initiative 136 says.
They stress that Eyath is an efficient and profitable company that offers quality water services in low prices, without ever reporting any financial loss. The company’s profits during the last 5 years were €75m, while the price of the takeover after the collapse of its stock market value is not more than €55m.
The following organisations have said they will offer financial support to Initiative 136: Accion International and Accion USA, Amalgamated Bank of New York (Amalgamated Ladies Garment Workers Union), Banca Etica, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Blue Orchard Finance, Calvert Foundation, Charity Bank, Citizens Energy Company, Credit Cooperatif, Cultura Sparebank, Ecology Building Society, Epiphany Funds, FINCA International, GLS Gemeinschaftsbank, Merkur Cooperative Bank, Oikocredit USA, Shared Interest, Social Fisnance USA, Symbiotics, Cooperative Banking Group, Unity Trust Bank, Working Capital for Community Needs (WCCN).
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