World Water Day: 22 March 2006

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The Standing Committee on Public Utilities considered a number of developments in the European Water sector at its meetings on 7 April 2005 and 7 October 2005 in Luxembourg.

It decided it would be worthwhile for EPSU to actively participate in the activities organized around World Water Day, 22 March 2006. This participation can take the form of public action to raise the awareness of citizens and politicians about threats to water services from the growing commercialisation of an essential service.

The action we are considering can include the following:

- 1. To organise a public action in front of the relevant Ministry and/or EU delegation in as many European countries as possible on 22 March. Key demands are:
-* Recognise safe and reliable drinking water and waste water services as a human right.
-* No liberalization of water services. The action would demonstrate our concerns regarding the Commission plans to promote competition in water services.
-* Stop promoting the private sector (through PPPs) in developing countries. Priority is to be given to the public sector (95% of water services worldwide are publicly provided).
-* Water and other public services should remain outside of the scope of the Services/ Bolkestein Directive.
-* The Commission should withdraw its request to developing countries to open water services as part of the negotiations on GATS.

- 2. We are not requesting a mass mobilisation. The strength of the action will be in the number of countries it covers. It will be important to ensure action in all EU member states and if possible the EU applicant and candidate countries, to practice and demonstrate our trade union strength in the sector. Colleagues in Belgium (Commission and European Parliament, Austria and Finland (EU Presidencies) are considering specific actions.

- 3. Please be imaginative and creative to attract attention of the media.

- 4. It will also be an opportunity to work with other groups that stand for water as a public service. Trade unions in several countries are working with such groups in coalitions.

Proposed headings for the actions:

- Our Water is Not for Sale
- Water is a Human Right
- Hands off our public water
- Water and other Public Services out of the Bolkestein Directive

We kindly ask you to consider these suggestions and indicate if your union will be able to participate. Attached is a sheet with an indication of a number of actions that could be possible. We would appreciate if you could send that sheet back to us, indicating what your union will be able to do.

Our Water is not for sale! Notre eau n'est pas à vendre ! Ons water is niet te koop !

- download our call for action for 22 March

List of actions from our affiliates

Action sheet


Background note


- News from our Italian affiliate FP-CGIL

- 22 maart 2006 Wereld Water Dag

- European Voice 9 March 2006: "Water divides EU member states", by David Cronin

- Water and GATS

- For more information on the work of EPSU on water

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