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March 19, 2010

A Water Commons Clash in the Coliseum

Join the fight against privatization of water in Italy.

The battle to preserve water as a common good takes to the Roman streets this weekend. As you turn on the tap to hydrate yourself today, please take a moment to think of our Italian colleagues fighting to overturn the water-privatizing Ronchi law.

Here’s a really illuminating exchange between two European water activists, one Italian and one German about the implications of the Italian fight for European water.

“Dear friends,

Just a brief update on what’s happening in Italy.

At the end of November 2009, a new law was approved. Its name is Ronchi Law: the starting point of water services privatization was launched!

Since that many things have been done: hundreds of public meetings have been organized all around the Country to let people now what is the real meaning of privatizing water services.

Local authorities have been involved and have been playing a strategic role: this new law “steals” proficiencies that belong to decentralized authorities; for this reason five Regions have excepted to know if this law goes against on what’s foreseen in the Italian Constitutional Chart.

Tens of Local Authorities have changed their Statues inserting an article that says that “Water is a common good and a human right; water services have no economic value.” This is a strong political message sent to Rome.

A great mobilization is affecting the whole Boot: in each Region grassroots committees have joined the proposal of the Italian Forum of Water Movements: having a great demonstration on March the 20th in Rome to defend water as a common.

During these three last months the Forum with many other civil society organizations has also decided to set up a referendum to annul Ronchi law. This will be launched during the demonstration: this means that a collecting signatures campaign will involve all the country in the next months: 500,000 signatures are needed to ask for the referendum.

We’ve decided to react strongly to this irresponsible privatization policy. You’re all invited to support us also by coming to Rome on the 20th of March.

Thanks in advance for your support,

Raffaella Cavallo Ce.V.I. – Centro di Volontariato Internazionale per la cooperazione allo sviluppo
Via Torino 77 – Paderno – 33100 UDINE
Tel ++39-0432-548.886
Fax ++39-0432-486.929
web: www.cevi.coop

Dear Rafaella,

Many thanks for this update concerning hopeful counter-movements to cancel Ronchi law.

What will happen in Italy, could influence also the future European water policy. A successful outcome of the referendum would send an important signal to Brussels, so that the European Commission hopefully will not ignore that a liberalisation and privatisation of the water sector will provoke strong and public opposition.

Spreading information I hope that large crowds of people come together in Rome joining the demands of the Italian Forum of Water Movements in order to protect water as a common.

All best wishes for the referendum.
Jutta Schuetz
ATTAC Germany

Avanti Italia! Thank you for preserving the water commons!