The project to privatize the Public Water Companies in Thessaloniki (EYATH) and Athens (EYDAP) is been on hold after the State Council ruled that the water has to remain “under strong state control.” The ruling makes the planned transfer of 67% of EYATH shares to private investors practically impossible and forced the Greek Privatization Agency (TAIPED) to cancel the transfer of EYDAP shares to it.
The court ruling
The State Council notes that the conversion EYDAP into a private company encounters articles of the Constitution requiring the state care of the public health and the right to its protection.
“The practical conversion of the public company into a private one that operates for profit, makes the continuity of supplying affordable and high quality utilities uncertain., the judges stressed.
74.01% of EYATH share were recently transferred to Greek Privatization Agency (TAIPED) with the aim to be sold to private investors in the context of “Greece’s sale off” in the name of the Troika and the loan agreements.
Apart from the issue of Constitution, “there were certainly also political reasons for such a court decision,” notes newspaper To Vima with reference to the strong reaction of the locals in Thessaloniki who even held an unofficial referendum in May parallel to the EU elections.
Unofficial Water privatization referendum
98.04% – 213,500 people voted NO
1.96% – 4,278 people voted YES
According to To Vima, there are currently three scenarios: 1) TAIPED sells the minority package of shares -24%- to strategic investor 2) TAIPEd sells 24% through the Athens Stock Exchange 3) Cancel the sale all together.
PS No worries, dear Troika! TAIPED will sell the so-called “small DEH” that is part of Greek Public Power Company, that is more profitable than the water companies after all.