European victories against Veolia

European Union

July 7, 2014 – At least 12 more European governments published online guidance warning their citizens and businesses about risks involved in trade and other economic links with illegal Israeli settlements on Thursday and Friday, bringing the total number of countries to publish such advice to 17.

The statements warn businesses about the economic, legal and reputational “risks” of economic ties with illegal Israeli settlements and state that firms should be aware of the “possible abuses of the rights of individuals” such transactions may contribute to.

The announcements are part of a wider effort coordinated among European states prompted by lobbying by civil society organisations such as the European Coordination of Associations for Palestine and MEPs, who have been arguing that governments should do more to prevent European firms from trading with or providing services to illegal Israeli settlements.

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In October 2007, AFPS with PLO took Veolia Transport and Alstom to court, invoking French civil code. A French court in Nanterre rejected the two companies claims that it had no jurisdiction in the case and reaffirmed the illegality of Israeli colonies in East Jerusalem etc.
Association France Palestine Solidarite (AFPS) used legal action.

In April 2009, Veolia loses a contract in Bordeaux with a value of 750 million Euros concerning the development of the biggest urban public transport network of France.

In November 2010, the municipality of Lille decided to not award the contract for public transport in the city to Veolia.

In February 2007, the Association France-Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), supported by the PLO, started a court case contesting the legitimacy under French law of the contracts awarded to Veolia, Alstom and Alstom Transport as part of the City Pass Consortium. On the 15th of April 2009, the court of Nanterre accepted jurisdiction for this case. In higher court, the Court of Appeal of Versailles endorsed the decision of the court of Nanterre. Alstom en Alstom Transport lodged another appeal, but on February the 4th 2010, the Court of Cassation determined that the higher appeal does not prevent the hearing of the case by court of Nanterre. The court case is still ongoing.


In January 2009 Stockholm county council announced end of 10 year-long Stockholm county metro/subway contract with Veolia, which would have been worth Euro 3.5 billion over the next 8 years. Diakonia led a coalition of faith-based groups. However, council said decision based upon commercial factors.

In April 2011, it became known that the ethical council of four Swedish pension funds (AP1, AP2, AP3, AP4; managing a total volume of almost 100 billion Euros) called upon Alstom and Veolia to stop their involvement in the Jerusalem Light Rail. ap funds ethical council/


The Hague
In November 2006, ASN bank sells its shares in Veolia because its activities “are not in line with UN requirements to stop supporting colonization activities”.

In February 2008, after pressure by bank clients, the Dutch Triodos Bank announced that Veolia and Alstom did not meet its criteria for investment. The Bank will not invest in Veolia, among other companies, because of its involvement in the occupation.

In November 2010, the largest Dutch pension fund, PFZW, (97 billion €) engaged with Veolia over its human rights abuses following appeals by Dutch activists.

In May 2012 Veolia was not awarded a public transportation contract for all bus transport in The Hague’s city district. Advocacy efforts by groups  such as Al-Haq, A Different Jewish Voice, and United Civilians for Peace.

In October, 2012, the Board of the Utrecht Regional (BRU) granted a ten-year contract for tram and bus transportation in the city and region of Utrecht to Qbuzz, replacing the former operator, Connexxion.
The result of a high profile campaign, spearheaded by a local group, U4P (Utrecht for Palestine), aided by other activists and groups.


In February 2008, The Swiss Alternative Bank (ABS) acknowledged that Veolia did not meet their new criteria for investment, and expected Bank Sarasin to influence Veolia to withdraw from the tramway project or to sell its shares in Veolia.
Palestine solidarity activists based in Basel, Switzerland as well as clients of these banks put pressure.


In November 2008, a Veolia campaign is launched in front of the Bilbao city hall in response to Bilbao’s awarding of a bus contract to the company.

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