Reply of the Greek water movement to Suez

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).

Reading your resume we were informed that in 1993 you took a managerial position and then a promotion in the Aguas Argentinas (Buenos Aires) which was privatized in 1993 in the midst of the economic crisis in Argentina and remunicipallized in 2006. Argentina, as you note in your CV, was for you “a great experience providing the opportunity to discover other ways of thinking, professionally and personally“.

You mentioned that the price of water shall be set by an independent regulatory authority. The Greek WRA is nothing more than the Special Secretariat for Water (an old service within the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change) that has hastily been upgraded to the status of an independent Authority just after the announcement of the imminent privatization of EYDAP (Athens water company) and EYATH. Such a service may remind you of its respective one in Argentina which as per the report of Alcázar, L.; Abdala, A.; Shirley, M. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved 2008-04-16 the local WRA “was lacking in experience as it was created during the privatization” and its “decisions were not taken into consideration”. The fact that AA was in 1997, while the crisis raged in the country, granted a concession contract with very generous terms that authorized it to demand dollars at the old 1:1 exchange rate after the peso devaluation, despite the abysmal international market value of the former (Solanes, Miguel (2006) only underlines the local WRA efficiency and abilities. “Efficiency, Equity, and Liberalisation of Water Services in Buenos Aires, Argentina”. Industry, Services & Trade (OECD).

Read more of the press release on the website of SaveGreekWater