At a time when the majority of Greek households use their slim resources to sustain (through taxes and water bills) the profitability of EYDAP, the shareholders of the company have decided in one of the darkest pages of the company’s history and on the last work-day before Christmas to receive (for the second time during 2016) € 40 m. as dividends. (The first time the amount was around 20 m). It is worth noting that EYDAP is the water and sewerage supplying company (ex-utility) responsible for the Greater Athens area and has been created and operating with capital collected from Greek citizens (through taxes and other means). Through this decision public money, necessary for the operations of the company, goes to the pockets of Greece’s creditors, banks and international prospectors.
Lots of Greek households (much more than in the past) are unable to pay their water and sewerage bills: state owned and run EYDAP has cut water supply to many of these, thus denying them their human right to water (as recognized by the UN Assembly). EYDAP, instead of supporting such clients decided to give its shareholders a Christmas gift of € 40 m. One of the beneficiaries is the infamous John Paulson, a billionaire that may be (co)-responsible for the real-estate bubble in the US.
At the shareholders meeting George Sinioris, president of OME – EYDAP (EYDAP Federation of Employees’ Unions), explained why and how such an action may prove destructive for the company’s investment program and its financial independence; he also pleaded that EYDAP should act in a more humanitarian and socially-oriented way, which, constitutes its statutory obligation. The shareholders denied any discussion on the issue. The shareholders also refrained from voting on an alternate use of this sum, submitted by SEKES, which (use) would allow both the unhindered continuation of the company’s investment programme as well as the subsidizing of those clients who, because of the crisis raging in Greece during the last eight years, are unable pay their bills. In addition, SEKES proposal asked for the re-establishment of public faucets, that existed some time ago but are nowadays nowhere to be seen.
The shareholders’ meeting took place in the premises of the Athens Stock Market (instead of the EYDAP premises), that were surrounded by several platoons of Riot-Police, arrayed there in order to deny entrance to workers and citizens (among them members of SAVEGREEKWATER) that, despite the strong cold, had gathered there to protest against this evaporation of € 40 m. of, actually if not formally, public money. Despite the cold and the rain the police denied entrance even to the yard to anyone not allowed to the meeting.
The shareholders’ decision acts definitely against the public interest and proves that EYDAP has already actually become a prey for those wishing to obtain swift and guaranteed profits, even before its management gets transferred to HCAP as it has been voted in September 30 2016..
Giving away € 40 m., after having lost another € 17 m. through a so called investment in Attica Bank’s capital increase (€ 20 m. of the EYDAP reserves have been thrown away to this purpose) is a strong reason why public control of EYDAP (and of course all other public services institutions) is long due. Such profit-only oriented management of public services companies, that has been condemned through Decision 1906/2014 of the Greek Council of State, is only one item in a long list of actions and omissions by the Greek Governments and other state services and institutions that have led to Human Rights having become a phrase without any meaning in today’s Greece.
We demand that every competent authority (from the Greek Prime Minister down) make public any and all items, discussions and resolutions that can throw a light on how such decision was decided upon and also whether it constitutes one of the obligations undertaken to Greece’s creditors. Greek citizens have the right to know and comment upon any decision taken on their behalf: decisions reached behind closed doors have no place in a country that calls itself democratic.
We stay, of course, completely and absolutely against the above shareholders’ decision: as citizens of an EU country and as users of EYDAP’s services we will continue our campaign for Water to become, formally and actually, a human right and a public good whose management is subject to the citizens’ control.
SAVEGREEKWATER – a Citizens’ Initiative for the Non-Privatization of Water