37 items tagged "Greece"

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People vs. corporate rule: Thessaloniki’s great referendum

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Monday, 19 May 2014 10:44

First, quantitative:

More than 1500 volunteers set up ballot boxes outside the 192 electoral centres of the 11 municipalities of Thessaloniki’s metropolitan area, at the same time as the municipal elections taking place inside. Numerous groups and citizens’ initiatives worked side by side to carry out the plebiscite, with the infrastructural and moral support of the 11 municipal councils. A few volunteers, intimidated by the government’s threats to arrest the organizers for "obstructing the electoral process", failed to show up, however the coordinating groups moved people around quickly and covered the vacancies. There were minor incidents, with some police guards refusing to hand the ballot boxes to the organizers, but legal counsellors intervened successfully in all cases.

218.000 people cast their vote, about 34% of registered voters. Compare this to 55% of registered voters who participated in the municipal elections. About 60% of those who voted inside the electoral centres also voted in the referendum. Had the ballot boxes been inside the schoolyards, in central easy to find places, this figure would have been much higher. Unfortunately the government disregarded the organizers’ call and banished them from the yards.

98% of the vote was for “NO” to privatizing Thessaloniki’s water and sewerage company.

right2water condemns Greek government for obstructing water referendum

Category: Press Releases
Created on Sunday, 18 May 2014 10:37

Yesterday (17 May 2014) the Greek government, through a circular by Minister of the Interior G.Michelakis, declared "illegal" the self organised water referendum threatening the organizers with arrest for "obstructing the electoral process".

The volunteers behind the referendum that was announced in a public meeting of the grassroots movement SOS te to Nero while the right2water European Citizens initiative hearing was being watched 17 February 2014, have announced that they will go ahead risking arrest by the police. The 11 local mayors on the metropolitan area are supporting the referendum and denounced in forceful terms the attitude of the government. The attitude is a stain on the Presidency of the European Union, priding itself being the cradle of democracy.

The referendum asks the people of Thessaloniki if they want the local water company EYATH to go into private hands.

EPSU supports NO vote in Thessaloniki Water Referendum

Category: Press Releases
Created on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 12:12


EPSU Press communication – 14 May 2014

EPSU supports NO vote in Thessaloniki Water Referendum; asks Suez Environment to respect outcome

  • Thessaloniki referendum on future of water company 18 May 2014
  • Local coalition campaigns for NO vote to privatisation, NO to corporate take-over
  • International team of observers will monitor referendum
  • Greek government and French multinational Suez Environment asked to respect outcome.

18 May, Thessaloniki's water referendum: One no, many yeses

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 11:33

Thessaloniki is a lively sprawling metropolis located in the north of Greece. As with the rest of the country, it is affected by increasing unemployment and poverty, a result of the government's Troika-dictated policies, which have driven the economy into a deep recession.

In Greece, as in many other countries in the past, disaster capitalism has utilized the sovereign debt crisis -that it also helped produce- as an excuse to push forward an aggressive campaign of neoliberal plunder: Attack on the populations' social, political and labour rights, dismantling of the health and education system, massive dispossession through mega-mining projects, and privatisation of everything that constitutes the public wealth. Again, as in many other cases, the government and the media are mindlessly repeating neoliberalism's favourite mantra: "there is no alternative".

In this context, as part of the terms of the loathed "memorandum" imposed by the IMF, in 2011 the government announced its plans to privatize EYATH, the state-managed company providing the city's 1.5 million inhabitants with water and sanitation services. Suez, the water sector giant, was quick to express interest in profitable EYATH. As of May 2014, the privatization process is underway, and two bidders, French Suez and Israeli Mekorot, have advanced to the second phase of the public tender.

Solidarity with our fellow campaigners in Thessaloniki

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Sunday, 20 April 2014 21:20

Our Greek friends and fellow campaigners in Thessaloniki need our help and solidarity to keep water in public hands !

In Thessaloniki a struggle against water privatization is going on. As part of the Troika's (European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF) austerity programme the Water and Sewage Company EYATH in Thessaloniki is going to be sold.

The planned privatization of water services has raised broad resistance in Thessaloniki. With the aim of giving voice to the citizens' opposition a general assembly of SOS te nero (Save our water) campaign decided to organize a popular referendum on water privatization, be held on Sunday, May 18, 2014, simultaneously with the first round of local elections.

"This referendum has a movement character, and arises primarily from the desire of citizens to reflect authentic opinion for the future management of the public goods of water supply and sanitation." (Regional Association of Municipalities of Central Macedonia, Unanimous Decision of the Board on local referendum on the privatization of EYATH, 14 March 2014)

The referendum is non-binding, but it is expected that the investors will respect the outcome of the referendum that they are not welcome.

Reply of the Greek water movement to Suez

Category: Press Releases
Created on Thursday, 06 February 2014 21:22

A Press Conference was recently given by Vice President Suez Water Western Europe Ms. Diane D’Arras in Thessaloniki. With this public response the Greek water movement want to refer to what was said in an effort to enhance public debate on the issue.

Dear Diane,

Let us please clarify that what follows is based on what you said and answered during your recent Press Conference in Thessaloniki, as it has been reported by the journalists and media that were present.

Despite the democratic traditions of your home country and in stark contrast to your saying that Suez will definitely take into account the citizens’ public feeling and vision, the fact that no invitation was provisioned for interested citizens and not all interested journalists were invited, can only be judged negatively. It also stood in contrast to your invitation, on behalf of Suez, to elected members of the city council to become Members in the company’s new BoD. One of those present could have asked a clarifying question as to what rights such a membership would mean apart from providing a false feeling of public participation and an implication of transparency. Unfortunately no such question was posed by the reporters in the room, some of which are in the payroll of your partner in the TAIPED (HRADF) tender for the acquisition of the 51% shares of Thessaloniki water Company (EYATH).

Thoughts on ‘how to win’: the water struggle in Greece

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 09:54

What does it take for a movement to actually win? Organizers in the campaign against water privatization in Greece share their story and their strategy.

The path to the privatization of water in Greece was paved by the entry into the stock market in 1999 of the two major water companies, which led to the French multinational Suez entering the market. But it is now, with the loan agreement between the Greek government and the Troika of foreign lenders, that the real sell-off is to take place. For those citizens patient enough to read the whole document, there is a clause on page 682 of Law 4046/2012 which clearly includes in the macabre long list of assets to be privatized the two biggest water companies of Greece, both profitable: EYDAP (Athens and region) and EYATH (Thessaloniki and region).

Since July 2012, when SAVEGREEKWATER.ORG, the initiative for the non-privatization of water, was launched, we have been constantly strategizing on how to stop this from happening. We have collaborated closely with members of the two unions and several other organizations in Greece and abroad, and have struggled side-by-side with other movements like Movement 136, which aims for the social management of EYATH through a cooperatives of users; SOSte to Nero, an anti-privatization front in Northern Greece; Watervolo, protecting the springs at the beautiful Pelion mountain from industrialization; and numerous other networks in Greece. Stopping privatization is a first step in a vision for a non-profit, rational and democratic management of water, but for that we might need to found NONPROFITWATER.GR, where most of us would probably romantically enrol.

Read more on the ROAR magazine

Suez “honored” the speech of Paris deputy mayor, Athens city council no!

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Sunday, 20 October 2013 14:25

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.

Greek government owes, Greek government "regulates" !

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 10:03


Desiring to sell EYDAP cheaply the Government of Greece is trying to write off more than € 700 m of debts to the company. The Board of the Company (mostly controlled by the Government) will bring the issue in a Shareholders’ Meeting (to be held sometime in October). This way the Company’s value will be lowered by the above sum, the value of its shares will diminish, and its prospective buyers will be able to acquire it for peanuts.

Civil Society Groups and MEPs call on Companies to Drop Bid for Public Water Company in Greece

Category: Press Releases
Created on Thursday, 25 July 2013 08:35

25 JULY 2013

Civil Society Groups and MEPs call on Companies to Drop Bid for Public Water Company in Greece

Brussels - Over 130 civil society organisations, trade unions and individuals from Greece, Europe and around the world have teamed up with 50 Members of the European Parliament to send a letter to the bidders of the public water company in Thessaloniki urging them to drop their bid.

The group has sent letters to companies including the French multinational Suez Environnement, Greek groups Aktor S.A and Terna Energy S.A as well as the Israeli groups Mekorot and Arison Investment concerning their reported bids for EYATH, the Thessaloniki Water and Sewage Company.

Does it “rain elsewhere” for the Greek Government?

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Tuesday, 02 July 2013 20:33

With a general and unsubstantiated cliché that "privatization is an one-way for EYATH” transmitted by the private TV channels - who are the only ones - the Greek government welcomed the news of the retreat of the European Commission and the exclusion of water services from the new Concessions Directive.

After the strong stance of the German public opinion and despite of collusion of the political parties and of course in view of the elections, it seems that the Commission was forced to retreat in the end and to completely exclude water services from the Concessions Directive.

Letter to Thessaloniki water bidders

Category: Press Releases
Created on Thursday, 27 June 2013 14:28

The letter below (drafted together with the movement in Thessaloniki) was sent to the investors and companies that wish to partake in the privatisation of the water company of Thessaloniki. We ask them to withdraw their bid as they are not wanted in Thessaloniki. It is a simple and concrete way in which we can assist the unions, municipalities and social movements in Greece.

To the companies bidding for EYATH, the Thessaloniki Water and Sewage Company

We do not want you in Thessaloniki. Please withdraw your bid.

Resist and transform: the struggle for water in Greece

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Friday, 14 June 2013 20:26

Privatisation and the nature of the state is moving to the centre of the struggle against austerity in Greece. The troika of the three key lenders to Greece – the European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank – is trying to speed up the sell-off of the country’s public goods and resources by putting them in one holding company to be auctioned off in quick succession. The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED), as this company is pompously named, might as well be an auction house advertising an ‘everything must go’ clear out: ‘Greece for sale. Real estate bargains, profitable companies going cheap.’

Resistance to this handover to the corporate market faces a challenge. In 2011 a reputable polling company found that 75 per cent of Greeks believed privatisation was necessary; in 2012 it was down to 62 per cent but still well over half the population – including more than 40 per cent of Syriza voters. These same polls, however, indicate a point of vulnerability for the troika: water, the one issue on which a majority opposes privatisation. And it is on this issue that resistance is beginning to gain momentum as TAIPED announces that bids for the two state-owned water companies will be invited before the summer for sale by October.

Thessaloniki Mayors want public management of EYATH

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Monday, 08 April 2013 14:45

Against the tender for the privatization of EYATH are the municipalities of Thessaloniki, who seem decided to take over the management of water, requiring that TAIPED transfers its 51% stakes in the company to their control.

Article by Fani Sovitsli republication from Makedonia newspaper

translation SAVEGREEKWATER team

Furthermore, if their proposal is not accepted by the Greek public, they intend to participate in the contest in collaboration with the “Movement 136″, ensuring the necessary funding through loans.

Open letter to french people

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 14:54

Les tyrans ont toujours quelque ombre de vertu Ils soutiennent les lois avant de les abattre.
(Tyrants have always some slight shade of virtue; they support the laws before destroying them.)

Frenchmen, our brothers!

On the 19th of February, your President, François Hollande, visited the capital of our country, Athens. “Our message to Greece is a message of friendship, support, trust and growth” stated your President and asked the French corporations to invest… to invest in land and water.

Hollande and Samaras (Greek PM) talk about “investments” in the sector of water resources management, resources which are protected by the Greek Constitution, and belong to none, nor the Prime minister, to trade them in.

EYATH Employees: "The struggle starts now!"

Category: Press Releases
Created on Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:21

EYATH Employees: "The struggle starts now!"

Immediate was the response of the employees union of EYATH after yesterday’s announcement by Mr Athanasopoulos of TAIPED of the sale of 51 percent of EYATH till October 2013.We remind here, that from 1999 until today during the semi-privatization of the company, the number of employees decreased from 700 to 265 while for a 2,330 km network and 510,000 water meters the company employs 11 plumbers!. As for the invoices there were increases of up to 300 percent.

Initiative 136

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 22:19

Key points of the proposal for acquisition of E.Y.A.TH. by its consumers.

The “Iniciative 136” was created by collectives, organizations and individuals who live in Thessaloniki and is addressed to all citizens. It has taken the initiative to coordinate the creation of a legal entity of social character, which will participate in public tender for the acquisition of 40% plus the management of E.Y.A.TH  (initials for Thessaloniki’s Water and Sewerage Company), claiming control of the water of the city for its own citizens / consumers, rather than a multinational company.

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