With this press release, we attempt to investigate the consequences of the to-be-approved multi bill, on the Greek water services EYATH and EYDAP.
As John Locke, one of the Enlightenment founders, so our initiative believes that “the actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts”. After addressing this quote to those in power as well as to those who should control them, we consider it our duty that one of our “actions” should be to inform our fellow citizens.
In an effort to pierce through the uproar of misleading screaming voices and shifting of focus which constitute nowadays the greek “public sphere”, with this press release, we attempt to investigate the consequences of the to-be-approved multi bill, on the Greek water services since EYATH and EYDAP are both mentioned in an article in appendix D of the bill which establishes, among others, a “Super-Fund”, entitled “Hellenic Company of Assets and Participations S.A. (HCAP).
In the draft of the bill (Article 198), EYATH and EYDAP appear among those publicly controlled companies which will be transferred in their entirety to EDHS (“Company of Public Paticipations S.A.”) within “a next period of time”, with EDHS being founded at the same bill and described as one of the subsidiaries of the new “Super- Fund”.
After the bill was uploaded to the Hellenic Parliament’s official website, there have been reports and leaks that the two companies have been omitted by the Ministry of Finance due to reactions. However, according to the same reports, there is no assurance or commitment that they will not be transferred to the Super-Fund at “a next period of time”. If the companies do get transferred to EDHS either via the current bill or via a future one, the consequences will be, the following:
- The two companies will cease to be public utility agencies with the objective of providing uninterrupted and quality services of water and sanitation to the citizens of Athens and Thessaloniki. They will be instrumentalized in a contradictory to their scope way, since they will become by law simple “assets” in EDHS’ portfolio and will serve the Super- Fund’s “specific scope”, as it is mentioned in article 185 para. 1: “The Company manages and leverages its assets in order to: a) contribute resources to implement the investment policy of the country and to proceed to investments that contribute to the enhancement of the development of the Greek economy and b) contribute to the fulfillment of financial obligations of the Greek Republic under Law 4336/2015 (a 94).
- The two companies will be privatized in violation of the Constitution, as judged by the decision of the State Council session 1906/2014 regarding EYDAP, since all their assets and their subsidiaries are to be transferred to the Super – Fund which, as mentioned in Article 184 para. 4, “does not belong to the public or broader public sector, in the way that each is defined.”
- Management and administration of the two companies will be controlled, in substance and form, by the creditors, taking into account that: a) the Supervisory Board of the Super Fund consists of 5 members two of which are appointed by the creditors (with the consent of the Minister of Finance) and three from the Greek government (with the consent of the creditors) and that b) between the borrower Greek State and the creditors, there is no equal footing since the latter may impose what they want, as it has been repeatedly demonstrated in the past.
- If and when EDHS is granted with the right of allotment and modification of the concessions that are relevant to EYDAP and EYATH, the public nature and the public control of the water services may be covertly reversed.
The transfer of the two companies to a subsidiary of the new Super – Fund which by its founding law aims to “enhance the value and improve the performance of its assets as well as to create revenue from them”, -as already witnessed in a series of similar ventures in France, Germany, the US and elsewhere-, will result in:
- Further commercialization of the common of water
- Increase of tariffs and neglect of investments in infrastructure and networks
- Increase in the number of citizens who might end up in risk of losing their human right to access to water and sanitation as this was established by the UN on 3/8/2010 (A / RES / 64/292)
- The loss of control on the decision making regarding the country’s water policies and planning-taking into account the strategic importance and expertise of the two largest water companies in the country-.
- The installment of opaque concession contracts, as it has been already the case in Berlin and elsewhere, at the expense of the public interest, as these contracts often contain terms such as profits guarantees etc.
Furthermore, and more essentially, any agreement between the Greek government and its creditors to include EYDAP S.A. and EYATh S.A. in the new Super-Fund will constitute by both parties, a scandalous breach of the democratically expressed will of the people as this has been recorded at the Thessaloniki referendum on the 18th of May 2014 (where 98,03% of Thessalonians voted against the privatization of EYATh) but also after the successful completion of the ECI right2water in our country and at European level, demanding the adoption of the human right to water by the EU and the protection of water services from liberalization. (During the procedure the official signatures by Greek citizens surpassed 32.000, when the threshold was 16.000, while in Europe in overall the signatures were more than 1.800.000, when the threshold for a successful ECI is 1.000.000.
Although the creditors and the alternating Greek governments have ignored the will of the Greek people in a way which nullifies the country’s system of government by consecutive breaching of their pre-election commitments and – in an emblematic expression of their hybris – by disrespecting the July 5th 2015 referendum’s outcome, and despite the fact that the mass civil protests have been repeatedly ignored and were brutally repressed, we call those who are affected by the emerging new situation to stand by our side tomorrow Sunday, May 22 at 7.00 pm at Syntagma square. Not in the hope that our presence will change the already taken decisions of the power centers in the country and abroad, but because “the actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.”
SAVE GREEK WATER, Initiative for the non privatization of water in Greece