Inclusion of EYDAP and EYATH in the Superfund is unconstitutional according to the 4th Departement of the Council of State

16 June 2020

With two historic, major legal and political decisions (1223/2020 and 1224/2020), the 4th Department of the Council of State ruled unconstitutional the provisions of Law 4389/2016, which transferred the majority (50,003%) of shares of EYDAP and EYATH in the "Hellenic Holdings and Property Company SA" (Superfund).

The State Counselors of the 4th Department of the Council of State unanimously ruled that the allegations of the applicants (EYATH Workers' Union and EYDAP Workers' Federation) on the provisions of Article 191 of Law 4389/2016 are valid. The Supervisory Board of EESYP (Superfund) violates article 28 par. 2 of the Constitution and it is pointed out that according to law 4389/2016 after the transfer of shares in EESYP, the control of EYDAP and EYATH left the Greek State and fell into the hands of the European Commission and the European Stability Mechanism, through their members in the Board of Directors of EESYP.

This decision of the 4th Department of the Council of State (which due to their importance were referred to the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court of Cassation for final judgment) is a huge victory for the workers of EYDAP and EYATH, the citizens and the movements for Public Water. A second victory after the decision 1906/2014 of the Plenary Session of the Council of State that had deemed unconstitutional the transformation of EYDAP into a private company, and forced the transfer of the majority of shares from the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund back to the State.

This decision of the 4th Department of the Council of State is a collapse of the memorandum policy and the governments that implemented it, especially that of SYRIZA, which despite the reactions, proceeded to the inclusion of EYDAP and EYATH in the Superfund by law 4389/2016, with the rotten argument -as proved to the Fourth Department of the Council of State-, “that the control of the two companies remains in the hands of the State, since the Superfund is controlled by the State”. It is worth mentioning here for the record that the legal advisers of then Minister of Finance, Mr. Tsakalotos, but (unfortunately) also Mr. Benisis, CEO of EYDAP appointed by the SYRIZA government, had intervened in the trial in the Court of State against the appeal of the workers of EYDAP and EYATH.

This decision of the 4th Department of the Council of State comes at a time when the government of the New Democracy is attempting to privatize the External Water Supply System. In fact, the Minister of Infrastructure, Mr. Karamanlis (but also the Director of EYDAP, Mr. Sachinis), is currently using the same arguments as those of the then supporters of EYDAP's accession to the Superfund: That EYDAP is allegedly under the control of the State, so the External Water Supply is not privatized when its service is delivered via PPP to individuals.

The public water movement achieves the only victory in the decade against memorandum provisions and checks, putting substantial barriers to any attempts to directly or indirectly privatize public goods and water supply services, "a fundamental human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all human rights".

Because it proves once again that only the fight that is not given is lost, EYDAP workers and citizens of Athens must continue to be united in the only right path we have set:

  • Hands down from External Water Supply
  • No PPPs in water cycle management
  • Public EYDAP in the service of society without private interests (Superfund, Paulson and others)

Translation of the press release by SEKES-EYDAP

Letter to the investors of Tunsgtène du Narbonnais Company

The European Water Movement co-signed the following letter.

Stop Mines 81
La Métairie Haute
81260 Fontrieu - France
stopmines81 (at) laposte.net

Fontrieu, 8 June 2020

To the investors of Tunsgtène du Narbonnais Company

Copy to President, Prime Minister, Minister of economy and finance, Minister for ecological and solidarity transition, of the French Republic; Tungstène de Narbonnais Company

Dear Sirs,

You have expressed a wish to invest in the Tungstène du Narbonnais Company by applying to the French government for a prospective licence (« la Fabrié ») in august 2018, aiming to exploit local tunsgten ore.

The mining industry and its repercussions are well-known here. The mines that have been operating here in the past have led to a series of scandals due to their effects on the environment and on the health of the local residents : Saint-Salvy (zinc), Montroc (fluorine), Salsigne (gold).

Thus a wide array of local and national groups have ranked up as soon as the project was made public.

Mining operations are first and foremost detrimental to one vital resource : water.

Read more...

Coronavirus emergency: National governments and European institutions must ensure access to water and sanitation for all

Brussels, 24 march 2020

Measures taken in Europe to contain the spread of Coronavirus pandemic are producing a state of exception where people are subject to several prohibitions and prescriptions. We must stay in and apply strict hygiene recommendations, which implies guaranteed access to water and sanitation services. However, in spite of this emergency situation, we have not yet read in the declarations of European institutions the most basic health and hygiene provision: access to water and sanitation for all.

If some European countries and regions have decided to suspend water cutoff, it is because there is a risk that water operators implement cutoff even in emergency situations, i.e. for families without incomes, occupations, roma and migrants settlements.

UN General Assembly Resolution 64/292 (July 28th, 2010) recognizes “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights”. 10 years after, any State guaranteed this obligation to achieve the human right to water and sanitation (HRWS) at minimum level to guarantee the dignity of life.

But little has been done to guarantee the HRWS in Europe. In order to introduce the HRWS in European legislation, 1.884.790 european citizens signed the first European Citizens’ Initiative. Today 1 million people have no water access and 8 million people have no sanitation in Europe. It is time to act.

As European citizens claim and the normative development of HRWS indicates, water cutoff constitute a violation of the human right, even more dangerous for public health in the current context.

We therefore call national governments and European institutions for guaranteeing the human right to water and sanitation for all. This implies the adoption of various measures :

  • Water cutoff prohibition for all
  • Water and sanitation bill suspension during this crisis
  • Special attention to emergency situations such as non regulated supplies in occupations and migrant settlement
  • Guarantee of labour rights and hygiene conditions for water and sanitation workers
  • The cost of these measures shall not be borne by citizens but by the water and sanitation operators.

All these measures must be guaranteed through a specific mandatory regulation.

Such provisions are due in an emergency situation, but this is also the time for a systematic improvement of the pertinent normative, by the inclusion of these requirements in the water directives (in particular the Drinking Water Directive and the Water Frame Directive) and the introduction of the UN right to water in the European Charter. Drinking water supply and water resources management are consequently to be excluded from liberalizations and trade and investment agreements.

Effective implementation of the right to water and sanitation is an essential requirement of democracy, but it is also a beneficial and powerful tool for health and well-being of people, for preservation of the environment and, lastly, for economics. If not now, when?

European Water Movement

Contacts

Lucio Gentili - gentili.lucio (at) yahoo.it
Dante Maschio - dante.maschio (at) esf-cat.org

Open Letter on the Drinking Water Directive and the Right to Water

Brussels, 28 May 2020

To : the MEPs of the EU Parliament
For information to : the Commission of the EU and Council of the EU

As already highlighted in our previous statements,Coronavirus pandemic emergency has revealed the urgency of a deep improvement of the European water normative, firstly of the Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Unfortunately EU institutions seem to continue to legislate in the water field without taking into account what we learn from pandemic, social emergency and climate change. This negative impression is confirmed by the last revision of the DWD that will be submitted to the final vote of the EU Parliament.

In particular the text under scrutiny is very unsatisfactory for what concerns the real implementation of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation (HRWS) adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution 64/292 (July 28th, 2010).

This revision has no reference to the UN HRWS. The request “to ensure universal and affordable access” as a right is no longer declared and it is reduced to a generic scope “to improve access to water”. This vague concept is in practice clearly of no effect. Even the positive introduction of provisions regarding definition and inclusion of vulnerable and marginalized groups without or with limited water access is completely delegated to the Member States in the absence of minimum clear fixed requirements to all, so this make uncertain the implementation of this disposition and fails to implement common standards to guarantee a Human Right throughout the Union.

Read more...

Red Agua Pública on World Water Day : Facing climate change, assuming the climate emergency

The Red Agua Pública (RAP) claims the need to assume the climate emergency and the determination to advance in the fight against climate change. The RAP reaffirms the demand to implement public, democratic, transparent and sustainable management models for the integral urban water cycle.

Every year, on 22 March, at the initiative of the United Nations, World Water Day is commemorated with the aim of drawing attention to problem of water through relevant issues. In 2020, the World Water Day has been focused on the relationship between climate change and water, and the impacts and the policies for adapting to climate change affect and are related to water directly.

There is a broad social and scientific consensus that the impacts of climate change on water resources will lead to substantial changes in the availability, quality and quantity of water for aquatic ecosystems and basic human needs. It can threat the effective enjoyment of the human rights to water and sanitation. Food sovereignty, human health, urban and rural settlements, energy production, industrial and economic development, employment and ecosystems are all dependent on water and therefore vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

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