Although the city of Naples in Italy , ought to proceed with remunicipalization as it had started, after the successful national referendum in 2010, in which the vast majority of Italians (95 %) opposed the privatization of water services however a number of difficulties have risen to this transition by some political decisions. The paraphrased doctrine “Some laws are more equal than others” on how to apply ” legitimacy ” in the EU nowadays, seems to be not only a greek phenomenon. Therefore, the struggle of our neighbors, continues. Perhaps the struggle for the commons is a never ending struggle, as long as there are predators who want to appropriate them.
Comitato Acqua Pubblica Napoli: “Hands off ABC Napoli!”
In January this year, the transformation of ARIN S.p.a into ABC Napoli was concluded, ending a cycle of struggles which started 10 years ago, when the resolution of 23 November, 2004 allowed the private sector to manage the integrated water services of the entire ATO2 district in Southern Italy (comprising 136 communes from the provinces of Naples and Caserta in the Campania region).
The committees of Naples and Caserta, the public water committees together with a widespread citizen movement fought and obtained the withdrawal of the resolution. Since then we have repeatedly asked the Municipal Administration of Naples to start the transformation of the corporation into a special public company in order to eliminate the pursuit of profit and the potential sale of ARIN shares to the private. What the former Municipal Council under Mayor Iervolino and Budget Councilor Realfonzo were unable to achieve after the referendum victory, now became possible and the present Council (Mayor De Magistris and Branch Councilor Lucarelli) put in place the transformation. Naples is the first city in Italy to have re-municipalized its water service.
This transformation stimulated such enthusiasm and expectation for change that a number of Italian cities, urged by by their own committees, started to plan their course towards re-municipalization.
To give a boost to this commitment to change, we suggested that the Municipal Administration should co-organize a convention of Mayors, Administrations and committees in Naples. If the city of Naples succeeded in re-municipalizing, re-municipalization is possible and, mostly, necessary.
Preparations for the convention, postponed from March to April, began in a shilly-shallying atmosphere and we started to understand that things were not moving in the right direction. Moreover, the February elections had weakened the political position of the Mayor and of his majority. It had also led to the “broad agreements” government summoned by Napolitano. This government is for the privatization of public services, in concordance with the Troika (IMF, ECB, European Commission), a framework that threatens the very existence of ABC Napoli. At the Convention on 24 April, we drew attention to the upcoming difficulties and reiterated with conviction that we here to fight. Hands off ABC Napoli!
We asked and continue to ask the Municipal Administration to “secure” the position of ABC Napoli by attending to many unresolved problems:
Relations with the ATO district (now under supervision but retaining full powers)
- Industrial plan
- Past management evaluation
- Economical and tarification plan
- Incomplete board of directors
Over the past months we have pressed the City Council, but with poor results; members were either ambiguous, minimizing or denying. Obviously, relations with the City Council were interrupted. The recent events relative to the increase in tariffs (in Italy, Naples’ Administration was very quick to approve the AEEG – Electric Energy and Gas Authority directives instead of arguing against them) and the Regional Bill designed to encourage SII (Integrated Water Service) privatization is seriously jeopardizing the fate ABC Napoli. While it is impossible to fully grasp the politics that are developing around the SII management in Campania right now, there is one thing that is absolutely certain: we will do everything in our power to fight this Bill.
Hands off ABC Napoli!
Comitato Acqua Pubblica Napoli
 ARIN (Azienda Risorse Idriche di Napoli – Water Resources Company of Naples) S.p.a was a corporation responsible for water management in Naples. The S.p.a (società per azioni) is the Italian equivalent of the public limited companies.
 ABC Napoli is a spécial public company (azienda spéciale) which is the italian équivalent of a public institution of industrial and commercial nature. ABC for “Acqua Bene Comune” which in English is “Water as a Commons”.
 The ATO (Ambito Territoriale Ottimale) is now chaired by a representative of the government and not by the mayor of the largest municipality. The ATO continues to decide the price of water to be applied in all municipalities.
 AEEG (Autorità per l’Energia Elettrica e il Gas – the Authority for Electricy and Gas) is the agency responsible for the regulation of competition and pricing in the field of electricity and gas. The AEEG adopted a new method of pricing water services which is against the referendum result of June 2011.