FSE/ESF Forum social européen/European Social Forum - Water and the responsability of Europe
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Memoria Viva // Paris 2003 Reports // Against merchandising processes //

Water and the responsability of Europe [en]
5 December 2003

The European Commission (EC) is launching a number of initiatives to liberalize and commodify the water sector. Some of these could result in legislation The most important is that the Commission has proposed to study the introduction of competition in the water sector as part of its Internal market strategy priorities. The European Parliament will discuss a report on this in January/ February 2004. Internal documents of the Commission reveal that the next sep could be legislation to liberalise. Civil society must mobilise to oppose this EC programme to force open the water sector to corporate control.

Further, the EC is the principal instigator of the attempt to bring water under the WOT General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It is extremely important to prevent the inclusion of water under GATS, because trade priorities will dominate social and ecological imperatives. Further, GATS commitments are ‘irreversible’.



 

General Proposals

- Strengthen our networks to get organised - sign up sheets, visit websites, sign up to some listserves, and then move to action, in your community first.

- Overall, develop better policy initiatives to offer as alternatives to corporate control.

Specific Proposals

  • Prevent entry into GATS and the EU directives. We should make water an issue in the context of the upcoming EU elections.
    Especially in France, develop the pressure to help municipalities reverse privatisation. Elements include definition of public service mandate, of public participation, of redefining the contract type and length, with escape clauses, clarification of responsibilities (denounce the use of the term partnership). Examine tariff policies. Examine the public-public partnerships (PUPs) of municipalities, to get the mandate from the people in both countries.
  • Examine the International Standards Organisation (ISO) process. Examine the EC centime solidarity fund proposals (a centime per cubic meter of water additional charge to every water bill in the EU), which may not be the best mechanism for generating additional funds for water.
  • Campaign priorities include eliminate the debt, develop a Tobin tax,
  • pressure to increase official development assistance (ODA).
  • Develop a better gender analysis and advocate a human rights approach to campaign issues.
  • Develop campaign demands around the concrete needs of women’s daily lives.





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