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[box] A letter was sent to Mr Barroso by the president of the German Association of public water operators supporting our position against water privatization in Greece. In the letter, the president Dr Jochen Stemplewski is referring in detail to the “neutrality” that ought to be the EU Commission’s policy when it comes to public or private water services management, a significant legal argument that was also pointed out by the European Water Movement in their letter to Oli Rehn that SAVEGREEKWATER co-signed. [/box]
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To Mr. José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission
Dear mister president,
I am writing to you today as the president of the public water management federation (AöW) and therebyon behalf of the German public water supplier and sewage companies. We have come to know that the Directorate General for commerce and financial affairs (DG ECFIN) stated on September 26 2012 that they expect the privatization of public goods, including the water supply and distribution in Greece.
The water framework directive 2000/60/EC (WRRL) explicitly says “Water is not a common article of trade but a good of heritage that must be secured, defended and appropriately treated.” In our understanding that means that the supply of water, the sewage water disposal and water management cannot be privatized.
According to polls which have been carried out in Europe during the past years this consideration principle of the WRRL is a commitment that has a broad acceptance in the population. Last but not least one of the first EU citizens initiatives about the subject of water is taking place and is turning against the deregulation of water supply and distribution. In the AEUV and the accompanying protocol about services of common interest (number 26) and under consideration of article 36 of the charter of basic rights of the EU in connection with article 6, clause 1 AEUV the right of Member states for regional and municipal self-government (article 4 clause 2 AEUV) and to respect the order of ownership in the member states are acknowledged (article 345 AEUV).
Therefore the member states are free to decide within the democratic decision making if and to what extent they want to carry out public services( like water supply, distribution and sewage water disposal) themselves. The mentioned statement of the DG ECFIN and the actions taken by the European commission as a memebr of the Troika to appoint privatization orders to privatize the supply of water in Greece are conflicting with this. We believe that such orders would also be wrong for other EU countries. An increase in efficiency by privatization like quoted in the writing of the DG ECFIN is not at all proven. On the contrary, we fear the neglecting of infrastructure maintenance like the results of privatization in the UK show.
The experience with privatization of water worldwide showed the increase of prices and therefore led to extra charges for the population and those business branches who are depending on clean water. Therewith it even leads to less economical advantages in these sectors.
Water in public ownership is the best prerequisite for democratic influence in the structures that have to do with the provision of services of general economic interest and citizen participation.With privatization these duties and responsibilities will be detracted. The financial and Euro crisis may not be used to introduce deregulation of water management.
We call on you to revoke the statement of the DG ECFIN and to take care that the supply of the people with clean water, clean and healthy sanitation and water management will remain in public hands.
Dr. Jochen Stemplewski
Die Allianz der öffentlichen Wasserwirtschaft (AöW) e.V
The letter was also sent to
Mrs Viviane Reding, Vice-president of EU Commission
Mr Olli Rehn, Vice-president of EU Commission
Mr Joaquín Almunia, Vice-president of EU Commission
Mr Janez Potočnik, Member of EU Commission
Mr Maroš Šefčovič, Member of EU Commission
Mr Michel Barnier, Member of EU Commission
Mrs Dr. Angela Merkel, German Chancellor