For almost two decades, Ireland had been a global model of neoliberal development. A test lab to legitimize its application, with the country's cheap and specialized labor force as the guinea pig. The government, banks and constructors were intoxicated by the nectar of money, dragging along with them the reflexes of the entire social tissue. The “Celtic Tiger”, as the Irish economy was named, was openhandedly promising prosperity to a society that has historically suffered from poverty, immigration and unemployment. And it was doing just fine, as it seemed!
However, after years of impressive growth rates, the country has suddenly and roughly landed in the arms of the European support mechanism and the IMF. It now finds itself in the same position as Greece and Portugal, albeit for different reasons which, nevertheless, caused the same result: from being at the top, a true model to be followed, Ireland suddenly woke up on the brink of bankruptcy.
At a time when Europe is going through a crisis that is not solely economical but also a crisis of moral values, millions of European citizens demand a response to a crucial question: is water for the European Union a commercial product or a human right? Until today, the European Institutions have not given a clear answer. The EU has still to recognize water as a human right, as the UN did in 2010.
At the same time, cities, regions and countries all around the world are increasingly rejecting the water privatization model they had adopted for years and are remunicipalizing services in order to take back public control over water and sanitation management. In Europe, the majority of the cases have been recorded in France, home of the most powerful and influential private water multinational companies of the planet. Nine cases have been recorded in Germany.
Although Berlin and Paris have recently taken back public control over their water services, the financial and political European elites are demanding from Greece, Portugal and Ireland to privatize their public water systems. Provisions about water can be found in every M.o.U, Greece, Ireland and Portugal have signed with the Troika and it’s a common stipulation provided in every bailout agreement signed between the debt-ridden countries and their lenders.
Up To The Last Drop follows the money and the corporate interests during a period of four years in thirteen cities of six EU countries. It’s a documentary film about water that reflects contemporary European values and the quality of the current European democracy.