18 items tagged "Italy"

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Update info sheet on Italy by the Italian Water Forum

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Friday, 23 September 2022 13:22

Italian Water Forum (Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua) denounces that, at the eve of general elections, Italian Draghi Cabinet changed unilaterally, in favour of privatization of public services, the Competition Bill agreed with the Parliament.

Italian Water Forum learned from the press that last September 16, one week before general elections, Italian Draghi Cabinet approved a decree that, without any previous confrontation, modifies unilaterally in favour of privatization of public services the Competition Bill previously agreed with the Parliament. It must be pointed out that, at the eve of the elections, current Parliament has no time to discuss and vote this decree and in the meantime the Government is under ordinary administration, so it cannot legislate by changing legislative provisions already agreed with the same Parliament.

Contents of the decree as reported by the press are even more serious. If confirmed, they violate what previously agreed and precisely: it is reintroduced the obligation for an operator of network services, whose government is public, to justify its failure to open to the private market; public operators under public law, i.e. ABC of Naples, are excluded from the management of network services. Possible illegal nature of such provisions are in course of evaluation.

It will be responsibility of the future Government and Parliament to reject this decree that overturns the parliamentary mandate and aims to submit public services to the governance of the big private subjects. As Italian Water Forum we will continue our struggles and initiatives against privatization of local public services and for the respect of the vote expressed in the referendum of 2011.

Rome, 23 September 2022

Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua

Appeal to the court by the Comitato Umbro Acqua Pubblica against Umbra Acque spa

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Monday, 29 August 2022 12:56

25 June 2022

Popular action at the court of Perugia by the Comitato Umbro Acqua Pubblica
With private management, the accounts are not balanced for the citizen.

It has been proven for a long time that profits and public services are incompatible and that private management maximises profits and leaves the debts and dysfunctions to the public.

This is the case of the water service which, after almost 20 years of private management, has generated profits and consolidated the manager's assets thanks to public funding and the application of very high tariffs.

While citizens save on water consumption because they are sensitive to the preservation of the resource, as well as to the bill, politicians, on the one hand, are alarmed by the water crisis (drought and water rationing) and, on the other hand, endorse waste and over-consumption, as for example, the loss of 50% of the water introduced in the distribution network. This high rate of loss is caused by the failure of operators to make the planned investments to renew the network and repair leaks.

The core of the problem is that the private management of essential public services (health, transport, schools, etc.), in our case the water service, can only lead to high management costs, waste of resources, degradation of infrastructure, job insecurity and loss of professional skills.

All this was highlighted by the Comitato Umbro Acqua Pubblica, which sued Umbra Acque spa, the water service manager of 38 Umbrian municipalities, in the court of Perugia, with a popular action, due to the inertia of the assembly of municipalities that was supposed to control the activity of the manager. Instead of demanding that Umbra Acque spa respect the management contract, applying the penalties provided for if necessary, the assembly of municipalities continued for all these years to subscribe to everything that came from the manager without carrying out any control.

Stop Competition Bill – No privatization of water services

Category: Press Releases
Created on Tuesday, 22 March 2022 21:54


Open letter of the European Water Movement to the Italian and European parliamentarians

As European Water Movement we confirm our firm commitment against privatization and the water grabbing of water resources.

In this regard we express great concern for the European policy in favour of private players, as defined in the Next Generation EU and in the related national Recovery Plans. In particular, sharing the assessments and the initiatives of the Italian Forum of Water Movements (Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua), we express concern for Italy that, through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) and the connected Competition Bill (DDL Concorrenza), is preparing a context unbalanced in favour of the privatization of local public services.

Regarding water sector, the PNRR aims to achieve a restructuration based on enlargement towards the South, but not only, of the territory of competence of some big multiservice companies listed on the Stock Exchange identified as “efficient” operators, but actually resulted such only by assuring maximization of profits through financial processes.

Connected to the PNRR, the Competition Bill aims explicitly to remove regulatory and administrative barriers to market opening. In particular, article 6 aims to definitively rely essential services on the market, making their public government residual, so that local governments who would opt for such an option will have to literally “justify” their missed recourse to the market.

12 and 13 June 2011: the yeses win the referendum! 9 years have passed or 9 centuries ?

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Sunday, 14 June 2020 20:52

12 and 13 June 2011. Twenty-seven million Italians repeal article 23 bis of Law Decree no. 112 of 2008 which obliged the privatization of public services, including water management.

An act of direct democracy that is immediately put down by the technical government of Prof. Monti, with the assignment of the SII’s management (Integrated Water Service) to ARERA (Market Regulation Authority) which adopts a tariff system with structural profit margins and other protection systems for the private operator that make a big leap forward to the neoliberal policies in Italy, against the popular will.

In June 2020, thanks to the COVID-19 emergency, the rule of law is completely abolished.

The simplest constitutional rights have collapsed: education, justice, health (except for intensive care for COVID-19), restraining the free movement of people, the economy and, of course, collapse of the right to work.

After the lockdown, phase 2 begins, which mainly concerns measures for the reopening of economic and commercial activities, decided after long negotiations with Confindustria, while the implementation of the pandemic plan remains on paper, as well as the exercise of constitutional rights, including the free movement of people which will arrive only in June on the national territory.

Turin : a new stop to the long march towards water remunicipalization

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Thursday, 11 June 2020 11:31

On June 5th, 2020, at the end of a three months “de facto” suspension of constitutional rights, taking advantage of the inability of the Italian citizen to express themselves at the time, a blocking minority of small and medium municipalities of the Turin metropolitan city has rejected the proposal of the city of Turin to remunicipalize SMAT S.p.A. the local water company owned by them but ruled under Italian commercial law as private profit making company, thus stating that water is not a commons but a commodity. As a matter of fact, SMAT tariffs and water bills not only recover full operation and investment costs, but also the return on invested capital, i.e. profit.

The long march of the Italian Water Movement towards implementation of the Referendum of 2011 outcome is stopped once again by a political centre-right coalition led by the Democratic Party, disregarding popular will expressed by 25.609.701 i.e. 96,32% voters, to exclude any profit from water management and provision.

The only way to comply with the pronouncement of Italian people is the transformation of SMAT stock company into a non-profit company governed by public law whose mission is not profit but just the full cost recovery to guarantee to everyone the human right to water and sanitation services.

The Municipality of Naples achieved the former ARIN SpA remunicipalisation into ABC Naples soon after the Referendum of 2011, thus putting the accounts right, improving the quality of water supply and keeping water bills below the national average. Conversely, small and medium municipalities of the Turin metropolitan city, imbued by the mercantile culture of “profit über alles”, have constantly refused to follow the Naples example.

Despite the stop they have presently imposed to water remunicipalization, the Water Movement does not take a step back : it is committed to the coming renovation of local City councils where values and principles of water as a commons could finally prevail.

Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua
Comitato provinciale Acqua Pubblica Torino

acquapubblicatorino (at) gmail.com
+39 388 8597492

The Canals Are Clear Thanks to the Coronavirus, But Venice’s Existential Threat Is Climate Change

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Tuesday, 12 May 2020 16:42

Flooding in November has left experts wondering whether the massive retractable gates the city is constructing will ever keep all of the water out.

Living these days inside their homes to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Venetians have discovered a silver lining in an empty city suddenly free of polluting tourist boats. The water in the legendary canals is clear, unlike anything they've seen in decades.

Lidia Feruoch, president of the Venice branch of Italy's largest environmental group, Italia Nostra, rejoiced at watching "cormorants dive into the canals to catch fish because the water in the lagoon has become transparent again," she said in a recent interview. She hopes the end of the pandemic will free Venice from a "tourism monoculture" that brings 27 million visitors a year to this city of 50,000.

Still, Feruoch and Don Roberto Donadoni, parish priest of the Basilica of San Marco, remain mindful of the city's other existential threat, climate change, a preview of which they saw in the dark and churning waters of November, when extreme flooding from heavy rains and high tides swamped Venice and reached a level a few scant centimeters below that of the legendary 1966 flood.

Coronavirus emergency: Italian government must ensure access to water and sanitation for all

Category: Press Releases
Created on Monday, 09 March 2020 00:51

Rome, 9th March 2020

It is clear that the measures taken by the Italian Government to contain the spread of Coronavirus pandemic are producing a state of exception and a substantial suspension of democracy.

We do not wish to embark on a reasoning about the appropriateness or necessity of these measures, but rather we want to highlight a contradiction that could have serious social and health repercussions.

In a situation where citizens are literally drowned out by prohibitions and prescriptions, in the collective and individual effort to mitigate the risk of contagion, nowhere have we read the most basic health and hygiene provision: access to water for all.

Throughout Italy, water service managers are implementing, with different nuances, the practice of cutting off water in the event of fraud or other irregularities such as those identified by the notorious Article 5 of Lupi Decree which denies access to essential public services, including water, to those who are forced to squatting for shelter.

This is a violation of a human right that is even more odious and dangerous for public health in the current context, in which the first mesure recalled by all is precisely hygiene.

Turin: The long march towards water remunicipalisation

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 14:13

On 9 October 2017, the Turin City Council turned back privatisation and took another step towards the remunicipalisation of its metropolitan water system. And so the city entered the next phase of its long march towards water sovereignty, begun in the aftermath of the Second World War on the ruins of a town half-destroyed by allied bombing and by Nazi/Fascist retaliations against the democratic popular resistance.

A performing and profitable public water system (1945-1990)

In 1945, a large part of the Turin's civic aqueduct had to be reconstructed. Today, some of the water pipelines dating back to that period are still in operation. From 1945 to 1990, the Turin Water Service was directly owned and operated by a department of the Turin municipality. During this long period, water and sewage systems were implemented and modernised to keep pace with the growth of the city from 700,000 to 1.2 million inhabitants. The first Italian sewage treatment plant was also created during this time to serve Turin and its Metropolitan Area; it remains the most advanced and efficient plant in the country. Of course, the highly performing, profitable and publicly managed water system of Turin was highly coveted by private companies. They lobbied national governments (both centre-right and left) and gradually obtained laws and regulations supporting the privatisation of national and local public services.

Remunicipalization of water in Turin

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Monday, 09 October 2017 08:22

Six years later, the Turin City Council finally acted according to the popular will expressed by the referendum against privatization of 2011.

On Monday 9 October 2017, the 5Stelle group, "Torino in Comune" and "Direzione Italia" voted for the transformation of the water company SMAT S.p.A. into Azienda Speciale of public law.

After Naples, Turin is the second largest city in Italy to remunicipalize its water. From today begins the countdown of the setup of the Azienda Speciale that will also integrate the 40 municipalities of the metropolitan area. This process will officially end in April 2018.

May 17th: Stop austerity! Stop privatizations!

Category: Agenda
Created on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 13:37

Water, land, income, house, jobs, commons, social rights and democracy in Italy and Europe

Call for the construction of a nationalwide demonstration
in Rome (Italy) on May 17th

A new era in privatization of the commons, in attacks against our social rights and democracy is beginning.

The extraordinary victory achieved at 2011 water referendum shows that consent to a “private is better” ideology has ended and the multitude of open conflicts dealing with the defence of commons and local territories suggests the possibility and the urgency of a new social model. But crisis, built on the trap of public debt, is proposing again the ideology of “private is compulsory and indispensable” in a strong and fierce way.

Public water and participation win in Lazio

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 19:39

The first law in Italy for a public and participative management of the water, presented by citizens and municipalities, has been approved

After the formidable outcome of the June 2011 national referendum, following a two years process connected with practices experienced by commettees and several municipalities of Lazio, after pressing for 12 months the Regional Government, today, March 17, at last, the Popular Law proposal nr 31 for the public and participative management of the water services of Lazio Region has been approved unanimously.

This law aknowledges the referendum result, starting from the definition of water service as a service of general interest not subject to profit-making purpose, up to the allocation of a fund aimed to support the remunicipalization of present services. This law, at last, reinstates the central role of the local authorities, by outlining the optimal territorial districts on the basis of the hydrographic basins and making it possible for the municipalities to form consortiums and to commit the service also to public subjects, assuring in the meantime the participation of the local communities in the management of this essential good, also with respect to the future generations.

Summary of the remunicipalization of the water service in Italia

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 22:25

What happened after the water referendum in Italy?

After the referendum victory, a tenacious battle for its application and the remunicipalization of the water service was initiated.

The Constitutional Court judgement 199/2012 (July 20, 2012)

On August 13 2011, the Berlusconi government approved the Decree Law 138/2011, which substantially reintroduced the same rules that the referendum had repealed. One year later, the Constitutional Court cancelled this Decree Law as unconstitutional.

Attempt to subject "Aziende speciali" (public bodies managing services of general interest) and "in-house S.p.A." (public joint stock companies) to the internal stability pact. As is evident, forcing public bodies to respect the Stability Pact means to greatly reduce their possibility to invest in the service and therefore encouraging the process of privatization.

Umbria: Hundreds of self-reduced water bills!

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Sunday, 10 November 2013 14:47

Two years after the referendum of 12 and 13 June 2011 in Italy, hundreds of water and sanitation service users from the Umbrian Region took the initiative to self-reduce their water bills, cutting out the abhorred Invested Capital Return (ICR), the private operator’s share of profits guaranteed by law but repealed by the referendum. The referendum victory in June 2011 gave the Comitato Umbro Acqua Pubblica an extra weapon to fight against the privatization of water!

The Comitato Umbro Acqua Pubblica was first created in 2006, to support the Comitato Tutela Rio Fergia of Boschetto[1], a committee mobilized against Rochetta Spa, the multinational which bottles water from the Umbrian Apennines, exhausting groundwater, drying local torrents and jeopardizing a good part of regional water resources. If this was the starting point, mobilizing against the privatization of the SII[2], has became a natural consequence.

Hands off ABC Napoli !

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 15:41

In January this year, the transformation of ARIN S.p.a[1] into ABC Napoli[2] 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.

Running water in Aprilia: Deeds and Misdeeds

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Thursday, 17 October 2013 20:15

Deeds and Misdeeds
Running water in Aprilia: a never-ending course of justice

In this thriving town in Southern Latium (ATO4 district), the privatization of water and water services drove the local people to exasperation when they were unexpectedly hit by a 50% to 330% increase in their water bills. The reaction was instantaneous: a committee was established to protect the most valuable resource of all and a strategy to oppose this form of looting was defined. A harsh battle began, and is still going on, marked by many ups and downs. The moral of the story is that unity and participation are better weapons than intimidation, no matter what form it takes or where it comes from.

Reggio Emilia city towards re-municipalisation of water

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Friday, 25 January 2013 10:01

Monday, December 17th, the City Council of Reggio Emilia has approved a statement that bring the emilian town near the re-municipalisation of the water service and represents another example for the rest of Italy.

In fact, the popular initiative motion submitted by the Reggio Emilia Water Common Good Committee, even voted by a majority of the City Council (PD, Democratic Party, SEL, Left, Ecology and Liberty) and a part of the minority (M5S, Five Stars Movement and former Lega Nord people), with no votes against, point out to the need to go out from the multi-utility enterprise IREN and identifies the managing body in a “public law special company”.

Report from the National Assembly of The Italian Forum for Water Movements

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Friday, 14 December 2012 19:52

Rome, 24-25 November 2012.

The Italian Forum for Water Movements held its national assembly a year and a half after its extraordinary referendum victory.

The discussion began with an analysis of this intense year, marked by repeated attacks from all levels at the outcome of the referendum, which expressed the will of 26 million people.

It was agreed that it was a year of strong resistance by the movement for water, which promoted local and national initiatives for the remunicipalisation of water services, a campaign for civil obedience and mobilizations against the consolidation of large multi-utilities. A year, that has demonstrated the persistence of local grassroots building and the political subjectivity of the movement as well as a reinforcement of the reasons behind the referendum victory.

The Italian Constitutional Court Blocks the Privatization of Water

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 14:53

Big victory for the movements, the Constitutional Court blocks the privatization of water and local public services.

Today, 20th July, the Constitutional Court has given back the voice of the Italian citizens and the democracy of our country.

It does so by declaring unconstitutional, therefore inadmissible, Article 4 of the Decree Law 138 of August 13, 2011, by which, the Berlusconi government, stomped on the referendum result and re-introduced the privatization of local public services. This ruling also blocks all subsequent amendments, including those of the Monti government.

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