Letter of support from the European Water Movement to the Mesopotamian Water Forum

With this letter, the members and allies of the European Water Movement express their support and solidarity to the people organizing the Mesopotamian Water Forum, a civil society forum on the alternative management of Euphrates and Tigris rivers and their tributaries in Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran that will take place between 6 and 8 April 2019 in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan region of Iraq.

All over the world there are examples of damages caused by dams and hydropower plants. Evidence is well documented and international network of people fighting against these damages are ever growing. Therefore, the fight against dams might be considered as a global fight.

The European Water Movement is part of this international network defending the rivers, the territories and the communities linked to them.


A private equity fund buys Indáqua

Translation in English of a STAL (Sindicato Nacional dos Trabalhadores da Administração Local e Regional, Empresas Públicas, Concessionárias e Afins) press release.

Lisbon, 1 February 2019

STAL denounces the public water trade

In 2016, the portuguese construction group Mota-Engil, majority shareholder of Indáqua, the other shareholder being the German insurance group Talanx, sold its stake to the Israeli group Miya for € 60 million.

After three years, Indáqua, one of the largest private water service concessionaires in our country, is the target of a new transaction, bought this time by the International Private Equity Fund, Bridgepoint, ignoring the amounts involved in this business.

A business which, as STAL has always denounced, confirms that the financialization and growing dominance of foreign capital in the water sector, an inseparable consequence of privatization, would be a matter of time, as in all sectors open to privatization.


Vote on Jefta in the European Parliament

Dear MEP,

The EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement (JEFTA) negotiations were launched in March 2013. Between 10 and 13 December the plenary of the EU Parliament is planned to vote on the agreement.

JEFTA is the biggest trade agreement ever concluded by the European Union, with a country which GDP is three times higher than the one of Canada - the party for the previous agreement, CETA, that has served as a model for JEFTA according to the European Commission.

While CETA had included a number of shortcomings for water resources as well as for public water and wastewater management, the provisions of JEFTA even fall short of CETA. Additionally a considerable amount of power will be transferred from the EU Parliament to highly intransparent committees.

Unlike in the CETA Agreement (Art. 1.9), there is no article on "rights and obligations relating to water" in the JEFTA Agreement. This article, although insufficiently, excludes water "in its natural state" from becoming a market commodity and, although also insufficiently, preserves the rights of public authorities to decide independently how to allocate water resources.

Because of CETA's shortcomings on water some member states had insisted on including clarifications on water in the - legally not binding - CETA Joint Interpretative Instrument (No. 11, p. 8). Especially the declaration of Slovenia to the Council minutes highlights CETA's deficiencies and stresses the right of Slovenia to limit or cancel the awarded water rights (No. 23 p. 18). All this is missing in the JEFTA agreement.

We remind you that water is essential for life. In times of water shortages becoming a widespread phenomenon also in the EU we have to regard anyone approving JEFTA as acting highly irresponsibly.


Solidarity letter to the Save the rivers demonstration in Belgrade

Dear friends from the Balkans,

We see the demonstration today 27 january 2019 in Belgrade as a great step forward for the construction of a continental social movement for water as a common, for the promotion of the human right to water and for the protection of the environment against the selfish interests of some that want to destroy it only for their benefit.

The movement to defend rivers of Stara planina (Odbranimo reke Stare Planine) is for us the same struggle that our members do in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Germany, Ireland… We encourage you to continue and we support the efforts to create a wider organization for the promotion of water as a common, for a more democratic water management and for the human right to water. In that sense the creation of the group Pravo na vodu (Right to Water) makes us full of joy!

Forward in the struggle and all our support!

Stop the EU’s Services Notification Procedure

The European Water Movement signed the following CEO open letter with more than 75 other organizations.

Open letter to the EU governments

Stop the EU’s Services Notification Procedure - municipalities need democratic space to protect the interests of citizens!

We, representatives of European cities, civil society groups and trade unions, want to express our deep concern about the proposed Services Notification Procedure. Instead of reporting afterwards, new rules and laws would in the future have to be notified in advance and receive prior approval from the European Commission.

This would reduce space for progressive policies, including at local level. As stated in a September 2018 resolution by the city council of Amsterdam, the proposed Notification Procedure creates unnecessary delays and “seriously harms the autonomy of local governments and therefore poses a threat to the local democracy.” The proposal would create major new obstacles for progressive municipal policies, such as much-needed measures to protect affordable housing.

The proposed Procedure is disproportional and at odds with the subsidiarity principle as well as the obligation of the EU to respect regional and local self-government, as outlined in the Lisbon Treaty.

Cities have a crucial role to play in solving Europe’s social and environmental problems and in deepening democracy with active citizens’ engagement. The proposed Services Notification Procedure would restrict the democratic space of municipalities and is therefore completely unacceptable.

Open letter with the signatories