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(7 June 2017) As the British people go to the polls to vote in a snap election, reclaiming water management has become a major issue in the British elections. Mainstream economists writing for the Financial Times (FT), Chris Piles and Gill Plimmer’s article (“Nationalisation returns to centre of political debate”, Financial Times, 17 May) clearly shows of the categorical errors mainstream economists make in comparing the merits of public and private water utilities.

(11 May 2017) The European Water Movement (EUWM) and the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) is campaigning for the Spanish government to stop putting barriers in the way of re-municipalising water companies. The government has presented a proposal in the budget to amend the law that should be rejected. Please act and send the below message in Spanish to the Minister of Finance.

(28 March 2017) In the midst of the European Citizens’ Committee campaign for the Right2Water we were informed that a mayor cut off access to drinking water to a group of Roma. This caused an outcry. The ECI mobilized in Hungary, many people signed up to the ECI and the country became one of many to pass the threshold for the ECI. In the end nearly 2 million people in Europe supported it as did the European Parliament.

(12 January) Water activists, trade unionists, environmental organisations and European politicians discussed the ongoing fights to defend quality public water services at the invitation of the GUE/NLG group in the European Parliament, on the 11th of December.

(13 December 2016) EPSU is happy to support and promote the recently launched Human Rights to Water and Sanitation toolkit. The project which aims to bridge the gap between water justice activities and human rights campaigns has been developed by the Blue Planet Project, FLOW (For Love of Water), the Canadian Union of Public Employees, KruHa Indonesia, la Red Vida and the National Coalition on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation.

(12 December) EPSU welcomes the decision of Mafra’s  local authorities to remunicipalise its water services. The local authority was the first Portuguese municipality to privatise its water services, 22 years ago, making this policy reversal a real milestone.

(12 December 2016) Unions and the water movements continue fighting for public water. Recently we saw the inclusion of right to water in the Slovenia constitution. In Spain the water movement has come together to be more effective. To read more 

And Barcelona city council agreed to take water back into public ownership.

 

(7 November 2016) With a new and more progressive majority in Parliament, a law that was voted down by the conservative parties will be considered again. This initiative, originally coming from the movement Água de todos, is supposed to be presented once again to the Parliament after having been rejected by the former coalition.

(8 September 2016) Based on the experience of EPSU and the supporters of the European Right2Water European Citizens’ Initiative, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted a position. We noted that even if a ECI is successful the Commission can almost ignore it. And this despite a positive and supportive report of the European Parliament. The report also takes account of the problems we encounter organising the ECI.

(16 August 2016) Following elections in which the return of water into public hands was a big theme, the authorities have followed up, cancelled the water concession and created a public company.  The reasons for remunicipalization are familiar: underinvestment in infrastructure, high tariffs and lack of democratic control. People get disconnected when they have difficulty paying their bill.

In a huge victory for the Right2Water movement in Europe, the Slovenian National Assembly has voted to begin the process of amending the constitution to include the right to ‘safe drinking water.’ This follows 55,000 Slovenians, nearly 3% of the entire population, signing a petition in favour of including the right to water in the constitution.

(24 March 2016) Spain’s largest private operator Agbar has enjoyed a monopoly in the Metropolitan area of Barcelona by supplying 28 municipalities out of 36 including the city of Barcelona. Aigua és Vida – the Catalan platform Water for Life - revealed in 2010 that Agbar operated without concession contracts in 17 cases, and thus that there was no legal basis for these municipal concessions.

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