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[box] Last Tuesday, Veolia and Berlin’s local government announced Veolia’s withdraw from Berlin’s Water Company. Even though German activists are excited for the fact that water services are again 100% under local authorities’ control (since RWE has already been withdrawn), they have to deal with the ‘painful’ cost of the contract breaking. Veolia’s contract was to expire by 2028 and the previous similar breaking of RWE’s has cost 650 million. A lesson to follow from Berliners to Greeks. In order to avoid being in the same difficult situation in the future, privatization should now be avoided. Because by the time that Greek citizens will face the consequences of privatization and shall wish to reclaim the water of Athens and Thessaloniki, they will be obliged to pay for the services in multiplied overestimated prices.[/box]
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Realizing the re- municipalization of BWB by consensus
According to information from Berlin – Brandenburg Radio, there is now the possibility for the state of Berlin to buy once again the whole of the water services. According to the Federal Minister of Finance Mr Nussbaum, Veolia wants to sell all of its shares.
The total remunicipalization of Berlin’s water services is Berliner Wassertisch’s aim since 2006. We need this in order to create the urgent need of financial and ecological reorganization of the water services. – Water prices should be set as fees, which means that this allows to cover the current expenses and the necessary investments only. The profits are not supposed to lay in the water prices.
– The intake of drinking water and wastewater elaboration should be according to the strict criteria of the European Framework Directive on Water should not contravene other policy objectives of environmental protection, such as maintaining and improving the ecological balance. This would require significant investments.
– Berliners consumers should at last have the right to voice in the management of water services. Transparency and democracy should be introduced in BWB. – From these it is obvious that the return of shares of Veolia should be followed by the principle of strict savings. It would be devastating for the future remunicipalization projects throughout Germany, if the Federal Senate gilds Veolia retreat, as happened with RWE.
We urge the Federal Senate to realize the remunicipalization of BWB, discuss with Berliner Wassertisch, trade unions, tenants and residents associations and other representative groups and eventually achieve a consensus.
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