A very negative impression was caused to bystanders and members of our initiative , by the complete absence even for reasons of protocol, of representatives of Athens Municipality at the event on the water that took place yesterday evening with keynote speaker and guest the deputy mayor of Paris, Anne Le Strat. Fortunately local government was represented by members of the city councils of Maroussi and Pallini , two of the five municipalities of Attica that have adopted resolutions against the privatization of water services . In the packed hall of BEA , yesterday evening at 7 at Akadimias St , the mayor explained with composition and concrete data the steps that led to the operating in 2010, of the public water and sewage company, Eau de Paris, after the expiration of the 25-year contract of the city of Paris with the two large privates Suez and Veolia. Anne Le Strat, explained in her speech, how Paris succeeded in accomplishing a successful economic management of the natural monopoly, with strong the element of social control and participation on the board of elected local government, consumer associations , environmental organizations and employees. Not a single euro from the water company leaves the company, but it is reinvested in total for infrastructure maintenance and improvement of services and no water cuts take place implementing the ideal of social cohesion for those economically weaker. Paris did it, so it’s possible !
During the interventions from the Greek side, SAVEGREEKWATER spoke of the efforts conducted at European level and the pressure exerted on the matter that led to the European Commission’s statement to agree to exclude water services from privatization if requested by the Greek government. In a nutshell, savegreekwater described how the necessary political “climate” was created under which a government that would be interested in protecting the public interest could act. It was also highlighted the key role that can be played by the people of local government to stop the privatization while it was also emphasized that there is the opportunity, having ahead the municipal elections, in persuading candidates for the local government to take a stand on this issue before the elections . From the employees of EYDAP part , it became clear that the reasons of their protests aim in the protection of water as a public good and not their own interests since even if the company is privatized they will lose less than citizens in their entirety. Then the employees representative talked about the negatives that the privatization will bring, not only in further loss of public control over the resource and deterioration of facilities maintenance, paid by generations of Greeks, but also possible increases in tariffs and the extremely high risk for the quality of water that reaches our taps .
Worth noting is also the “tacit ” presence in the room, of a representative of Suez, which was recognized and was taken by a little surprise, as SAVEGREEKWATER offered him before the end of our intervention, a glass of public water and asked him to explain to the hall for what reason this has to become private. The representative did not do this, despite the fact that the floor was given for a long time to the participants in the audience that raised with their questions and interventions other aspects of the privatization course of the resource such as the issue of spas , natural sources and pans that are driven from different pathways to private exploitation.