Success of a citizens’ protest : The water sector has been withdrawn from the proposal for a directive on the award of concession contracts
Michel Barnier, commissioner of the internal market, on June 26, 2013 has declared that water sector will not be part of the directive on the award of concession contracts in the European Union. This decision is justified by the phrase « water is a commons fundamental for all European citizens », in reference to the European Citizen Initiative (ECI) « water is a human right » which having gathered more than 1.7 million signatures across all European countries has shown that European citizens do not want their water services privatized.
This withdrawal is a great success for citizens of the European Union. It demonstrates that the massive protests and refusal as expressed in Germany and Austria by the unions, elected representatives and citizens can be successful. Mr Barnier had repeatedly said that the goal of this directive was not the privatization of water services. A press communiqué from Aquafed, a group of water professionals shows that was not the case. Aquafed speaks of a « dangerous exclusion » aimed « against the interests of European citizens » using « democracy as a pretext ».
We are pleased that water sector is no longer affected by this European directive, but we also are aware that many other sectors are still included within this directive, and its primary goal is to favor the insertion of private corporations into public services i.e., a privatization that dares not speak its name.
The contradiction with the European policy is revealed squarely in the fact that although water sector is no longer in the directive, the Troika (EU, ECB, IMF) continues to pursue its brutal policy of privatization in Greece, Portugal and Spain.
Our resistance to the water policy of the EU will be pursued as long as the European Union treats water as a commodity instead of as a commons.