Published August 26, 2017 | Version v1
Journal article Open

The experience of Greece

  • 1. Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Spain
  • 2. Department of Planning and Regional Development, University of Thessaly, Greece


The article presents a synthesis of research results from the study of the part-privatization of Athens’ water and sanitation services in 1999. It discusses the broad context that characterizes the provision of these services in the country, which until the 1990s had been almost entirely in the public sector. The paper provides a detailed account of the privatization reforms introduced in the country and examines the pros and cons of these policies drawing lessons from the Athens’ case. It argues that national and international socio-political and ideological factors have been the main drivers of these pro-privatization policy changes, and will likely remain key factors in the future development of the water and sanitation sector in the country. Also, the analysis of main findings shows that, despite the rhetoric about the improvements that privatization would bring, the public sector remains central in the delivery of these services. Therefore, the article concludes that private sector involvement is no substitute for the much-needed modernisation and strengthening of the public sector. There is a need for structural policy and legal reform to enhance the public sector’s capacity to deliver quality water and sanitation services run according to the principles of social and environmental sustainability.



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