Thursday, 6 November 2014

Water Under the Bridge - Why are the Irish Surprised?

The Irish are out on the streets demonstrating against the new water charges. Why don't they protest against the EU?  That is the root cause of their problem.  
Directive 2014/25/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors made it abundantly clear that no member state is entitled to operate a "monopoly" of any utility provision, even if that monopoly is in the interests of citizens.



From 1997 until 2014, water was free in Eire  - that is to say that it was paid for out of general taxation, and provided by local authorities without consumer charges. The only problem was that some of the rural drinking water did not come up to EU standards. There have been a few cases of E-coli in the last decade and in certain areas it is regarded as advisable to boil the drinking water. Although this only affects 1.3% of supplies, Eire has been prosecuted at the European Court of Justice and the government faces unlimited fines if it does not offload its responsibilities to an independent company. They are hoping that investors will provide the cash needed to clean and improve the supply system. It is estimated that 41% of water is at present lost because of leakage. The drawback of privatisation is obviously that people suddenly have to pay for water. Each household will get 30m³ per year of free water, after which €4.88/m³ including taxes will be charged. Rates will be capped until March 2015 at an annual fixed rate of €176 plus €102 for every additional adult living in a household.[4]
One protest at Dublin was bordering on open violence. And another big public demonstration is planned for early December. People are refusing to let the new water meters be installed in their houses. 
Labour members of the Irish parliament are behaving in a predictably opportunistic way and making promises to reverse the privatisation with a referendum or legislation  - but even they can hardly be so ignorant as not to know that this change is inevitable under EU law. They are behaving just like the Labour MPs in England who pretended to oppose privatisation of the Post Office while voting for the EU which is imposing it.

If you want to buy shares in the new Irish Water Company UISCE you've got until 30th November to apply. The date has been extended because so few people applied.
Fill in the online form and using the PIN number sent to you through the post.
Have questions? Please call Irish Water on 1890 448 448.

Directive 2014/25/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors and repealing Directive 2004/17/EC Text with EEA relevance 
OJ L 94, 28.3.2014, p. 243–374 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)
DIRECTIVE 2014/25/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
of 26 February 2014
on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors and repealing Directive 2004/17/EC
(Text with EEA relevance)
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 53(1) and Article 62 and Article 114 thereof,
Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,
After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,
Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (1),
Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions (2),
Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure (3),
Whereas:
(1)
In the light of the results of the Commission staff working paper of 27 June 2011 entitled ‘Evaluation Report — Impact and Effectiveness of EU Public Procurement Legislation’, it appears appropriate to maintain rules on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors, since national authorities continue to be able to influence the behaviour of those entities, including participation in their capital and representation in the entities’ administrative, managerial or supervisory bodies. Another reason to continue to regulate procurement in those sectors is the closed nature of the markets in which the entities in those sectors operate, due to the existence of special or exclusive rights granted by the Member States concerning the supply to, provision or operation of networks for providing the service concerned.
(2)
In order to ensure the opening up to competition of procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors, provisions should be drawn up coordinating procurement procedures in respect of contracts above a certain value. Such coordination is needed to ensure the effect of the principles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and in particular the free movement of goods, the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services as well as the principles deriving therefrom, such as equal treatment, non-discrimination, mutual recognition, proportionality and transparency. In view of the nature of the sectors affected, the coordination of procurement procedures at the level of the Union should, while safeguarding the application of those principles, establish a framework for sound commercial practice and should allow maximum flexibility.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/tense-scenes-as-protesters-against-water-charges-congregate-outside-dublin-garda-station-30722145.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland
http://www.ojec.com/Directives.aspx
http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/environment/water_services/water_charges.html
http://www.water.ie/
http://www.water.ie/apply/



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