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Greeks say no to water privatisation

29 January 2013
Water tap by Laenulfean
Greece is under enormous pressure to privatize its water system. As the country drowns in debt, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank (often referred to as the “troika”) work with eager Greek political parties to balance the books by selling off public water.

Greece wouldn’t be the first place to privatize public water utilities during a fiscal crisis. Conditioning loans based on full or partial water privatization is an increasingly common practice of international lenders – and much criticized.

“You can tell if a society is democratic if its water is available to everyone, if it’s clean, and in public hands.” says Kostas Marioglou, a union leader at the water utility in Thessaloniki and organizer for a citizen’s initiative (Initiative 136) to buy the water utility from the Greek government.

Initiative 136 is a citizens’ initiative that opposes the privatization of the Water and Sanitation Company in Thessaloniki and proposes its social management through local-level cooperatives. The union badly wants to stop the threatened privatization, but if it does proceed, the cooperatives will do their best to hold the company accountable.

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