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Drinking water isn’t a commodity

February 16th, 2013 • Under pressure from the European Commission a debate on water privatisation has broken out in Europe. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong, commenting on the development, says: ‘For the Netherlands there is no direct threat, as in the European Parliament exceptions have been established so that water privatisation need not take place in our country. But we have to remain alert because the Commission would really like to carry out its misbegotten privatisation plans here too.’

Actie right2water
Sign the petition against water privatisation here: http://www.right2water.eu

A unified Europe-wide action committee has been established which has already collected more than a million signatures on a petition against the Commission’s privatisation plans. It is therefore the first ‘citizens’ initiative which has succeeded in collecting the million signatures necessary to be recognised as such, obliging the Commission at least to issue a reply. ‘In the European Parliament the Commission lost its battle and mass support from across the entire EU for the campaign against water privatisation has shown that there is no backing for these plans,’ says De Jong. ‘In Greece and Portugal water privatisation is being forced through with the Troika’s pistol to the people’s heads. In doing this the Commission has turned against the people in order to allow corporations to make a profit from the most important source of life, water. That’s simply an appalling scandal.’

Although there is for the time being no threat to the Netherlands, it remains according to De Jong important that Dutch people contribute their voices to the growing support for the people’s ‘right to water’ petition. ‘The greater the resistance to water privatisation, the more the Commission will find itself isolated. In addition this is an important signal of solidarity with the people of Greece and Portugal.'

In the Dutch national Parliament in the meantime SP Member Henk van Gerven has put a number of questions to the government, seeking to establish its stance on the matter. Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has signalled his agreement with the privatisation of water supply in Greece and Portugal. ‘Water is essential to a country,’ says Van Gerven. ‘It is one of the public services over which each country must have the right to decide whether or not it should be privatised or not. For that reason, the government should withdraw its support from the European Commission, and make it clear that drinking water in the Netherlands will never be privatised.

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