Italian Constitutional Court Blocks the Privatization of Water
July 23rd, 2012
In an important ruling, the Italian Constitutional Court has declared unconstitutional the privatization of water and local public services. In a ruling issued July 20, the Court ruled against Article 4 of the Decree Law 138 of August 13, 2011, by which, the Berlusconi government re-introduced the privatization of local public services. This ruling also blocks all subsequent amendments, including those of the Monti government.
The ruling strongly confirms the citizens’ will, expressed in the referendum of 12 and 13 June 2011. On those dates, a nationwide popular referendum was held in Italy on four questions, two of which concerned the privatization of water. Turnout was reported to be high, reaching 56.9%, with clear majorities of 94.6% to 96.1% in favor on all questions. The Vatican has come out strongly in favor of the human right to water, and opposed the efforts to privatize the vital resource. Cardinal Turkson, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said water distribution should be a service provided by governments to their citizens as part of their role in protecting the common good.