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New Coalition Seeks To Halt Privatisation Push In Europe

A new pan-European coalition of water campaign groups will be launched during the European Social Forum in the Swedish city Malmö to argue the case against privatisation. Including groups from Italy, Germany,France, Spain and Turkey, the European Network for Public Water will push for major changes in EU policies towards water management.

Jan Willem Goudriaan of the European Public Services Union (EPSU), one of the groups involved in initiating the coalition, said:

“The new coalition will make it clear to the European Commission and MEPs that water is a common good that should not be left to profit-seeking corporations. We want to see a moratorium on new EU liberalisation initiatives in the water sector and we want clear guarantees that public water supply is exempted from single market and EU competition rules.”

Marco Iob from the Italian Forum of Water Movements, said:

“By linking up citizens movements from across Europe we send a strong signal to EU governments that water must be enshrined in constitutions as a human right to be delivered through public management.”

The Italian Forum of Water Movements has collected over 400,000 signatories for a new water law aimed at rolling back privatisation of water services in Italy.

Members of the new coalition will be holding a number of seminars during the European Social Forum to showcase examples of public water management and progressive reforms from across the continent.

David Hachfeld, a water expert and member of ATTAC Germany who will be speaking at a seminar on Friday, said:

“Policy-makers should abandon short-sighted privatisation policies and instead pay close attention to the lessons that can be learned from Europe’s many world class public utilities.”

In his talk, he will highlight how cities such as Amsterdam, Seville, Vienna and Grenoble have developed highly effective, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible public water management.

Notes: [1] More than 20,000 people are expected to participate in the European Social Forum, September 17th to 21st 2008. See also: http://www.esf2008.org/

2: David Hachfeld will speak at a seminar on “Alternatives to privatisation: progressive public water management in Europe” http://esf2008.org/registrations/merged/privatisation-versus-progressive-public-water

3: The official launch of the European Network for Public Water will happen during the Assembly of Water Movements on the morning of Sunday 21st of September.

http://esf2008.org/registrations/corporate-europe-observatory-ceo/launching-the-european-water-network
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