Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 03:33:55 PM EST
[The Hoist: featuring an item or items from today's Newsroom]
The European Parliament is debating - and by some accounts set to pass - a concessions directive that would force municipalities to put their water supply out to tender.
So how come this isn't getting more play?
Certainly Germany is noticing. The TV news magazine Monitor picked up the story and ran with it admirably:
Other media are picking it up as well. The story is not without legs.
But in English, all I've found so far is this:
While hundreds of thousands support citizens initiative for water as a Human Right and opposing liberalization, MEPs vote through concessions directive | Water campaign
4 February 2013) The first up and running European Citizens Initiative (ECI) - Water is a Human Right – is more than 4/5ths of the way towards the target of a million online signatures. And many workers and citizens are collecting paper signatures as well. This ECI was the first to start the paper and on-line collection of signatures. It is the first initiative that has passed the ¾ threshold and likely to be the first to reach the 1 million mark.
Clearly many hundred thousands of citizens are concerned about water and sanitation. They regard these as public services. They do not want water services to be sold for profit. Many have signed the ECI following TV programmes and newspaper articles especially in Germany in which the Concessions Directive was discussed. The European Commission has proposed this directive to promote public private partnerships and competition. Many are concerned that municipalities that award the concession for water, but also other public services, to municipal companies will risk that these concessions have to be brought on to the market and will be forced to be provided by private companies for profit.
A majority of the European Parliament’s Committee for the Internal Market (IMCO), dominated by conservatives, defeated proposals to reject the directive. It also rejected proposals to have a broad exclusion for public services, and it rejected separate proposals to exclude water services.
Naturally, proponents say that no municipality will be "forced" to privatize it's water supply. But critics point out the the European tender requirement means that the Nestlés and Vivendis of this world can snap up concessions with dumping quotes that no responsible water works can match.
So what's it like where you're at?