Greek Min of Interior threatens of arrests over water referendum and government “slides” on democratic deficit

Greek Min of Interior threatens of arrests over water referendum and government “slides” on democratic deficit

Τhe circular of prohibition of the local referendum organized by 11 Municipalities of Thessaloniki on the issue of privatization of EYATH by minister of Interior Mr. Michelakis just one day before the process is a document politically & legally exposed.

Politically, because just one day before the local elections that elect representatives of local communities , the government intervenes in a democratic process which was decided by those same local and democratically elected Mayors several months ago and organized with the support of civil society and many collectives in Greece and Europe .

Legally because the process of the referendum does not impede the elections procedure in any way and it would be perfectly legal and conforming to European law if the government had not demonstrated scandalous , suspicious and undemocratic “negligence” in the drafting and signing of the residential Decree which would implement the European legislation on local referenda provided by ” Kallikratis “ law which was voted years ago.

Even more unacceptable is bullying on arresting those who set up polls or use the electoral roll even outside the polling station !!!

As, the constitutional expert Mr Katrougalos stated, when asked by our initiative, the ban of the use of voter lists is unconstitutional. According to the Professor of Constitutional Law, any ban of the procedure is in violation of the Article 102 of the Constitution that recognizes the competence of local authorities on local affairs among which are the referenda in accordance with the law ” Kallikratis “. Apart from that the ban infringes the freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution and the free and genuine expression of peoples’ will, that is protected in Article 52 of the Constitution.

We can understand Mr. Michelaki’s , the government’s and especially their friends’(who are used to install and depose governments in Europe behind closed doors ) difficulty to understand and respect the will of the citizens of Thessaloniki, but they should keep calm. This move exposes Mr Michelakis & the government and reveals the true feelings of their political class regarding the effective participation of citizens in decision- making.

The protection of democracy and the expression of the will of all citizens is not negotiable and it is our right and our obligation to preserve it from interpretations and approaches of governments that come & go. The era of “we decide & command ” is long gone. (note for foreign readers: phrase used by greek junta 1967-1974)

All over Europe for which Mr Michelakis claims to care for, local and national referenda are wide & well supported by authorities.

In a national referendum on water, invoked by signatures of citizens, in Italy on June 12 and June 13 of 2011, the Italian people voted against privatization in an overwhelming percentage of 95.4 % .

In 2004, the city and the Land of Hamburg decided, after a successful local referendum , the adoption of a law according to which the water services should be only in public hands .

Berlin residents demanded a referendum in which an overwhelming majority voted in favor of the disclosure of the concession contract that was signed to privatize the minority stocks of the water company of Berlin, that revealed there was a secret written clause of guaranteed large profits and recently the service was fully remunicipalized with very high economic cost for the residents.

And of course there are examples of governments which respect even polls and the people’s sense of right and act accordingly.

In 2004, the Netherlands passed a law that prevents any private company from providing services to the public drinking water .Even in Lithuania, the responsible Minister recently announced that it is preparing legislation so that only municipalities can provide water.

Even in our case , international pressure forced the European Commission to exclude water services from the concessions directive. Olli Rehn, has even stated that privatization in Greece is the Greek government’s decision and not one of its creditors and that he agrees to exclude water services from the troika deals. It is obvious that the international pressure has led to the creation of the political moment, in which a government could effectively exclude water services from privatizations, instead of creating a “terror climate” against the expression of the citizens of Thessaloniki.

It is, at least, “unfortunate ” while we are in the process of local, regional and European elections , that the government is showing disrespect towards the need for expression of citizens undermining in this way the core meaning of democracy .

At any rate, we offer to Mr Michelakis and his government, a glass of water from the public taps of EYATH and we wish to them “good digestion”, “swallowing” the bad news .Because despite the threats of arrests, the referendum is still on.

See you at the ballots…

SAVEGREEWATER Initiative for the non privatization of water in Greece

(Note: Despite the short time till tomorrow this press release is circulated for cosigning. Those organizations who wish to support it, can send an email to

 Many thanks for the immediate co signatures the following organizations

Αλληλεγγύη στα Δυτικά. Κίνηση κοινωνικής αλληλεγγύης του Αιγάλεω

Ιατρείο Κοινωνικής Αλληλεγγύης Περιστερίου

Ελεύθερη Λαϊκή Αντιστασιακή Συσπείρωση Ε.Λ.Λ.Α.Σ.

Κίνηση Πολιτών Επανομής

Παρατήριο Μεταλλευτικών Δραστηριοτήτων 

«ΒΙΟΖΩ» – Πανελλήνια Ένωση Καταναλωτών ., «ΒΙΟ-ΚΑΤΑΝΑΛΩΤΕΣ ΓΙΑ ΠΟΙΟΤΙΚΗ ΖΩΗ»

Αυτοδιαχειριζόμενος Αγρος στο ΕλληνικόΠεριβαλλοντικός Πολιτιστικός Σύλλογος Μάνης

Ενότητα Σαρωνικού

European water Movement EWM


Agua e de todos

Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua

CeVI – Centro di Volontariato Internazionale

WIB,Wasser in Bürgerhand

Berliner Wassertisch

Eau Secours 34

CRAUE (Coordination Rhône Méditerranée des Associations des Usagers de l’Eau)

Public Water Movement of Turin

Fédération Cgt des services Publics

Alta Amazonia Celendin, Peru

Mouvement National de Lutte pour l’Environnement

Association des Usagers de l’ Eau  des Pyrénées Orientales

ATTAC France

Initiative for the non privatization of water in Greece

1 Comment

  1. KAUFFER Michele 9 years ago

    Our CGT Public Services Federation protests against prohibition on Thessalonic referendum against Water privatisation .
    After our action in front of Greek ambassy in Paris on May 15th , we claim again our support and solidarity towards greek citizens and trade unions fighting against european Troîka’s austerity mesures , asking the greek government to respect people’s willings.

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