UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Privatisation is not a one way street

In countries in the grip of austerity measures, pressure is on for privatisation of public services but, as Tom Gill writes in the Morning Star, ‘despite this new privatisation bonanza, recent research shows that the trend in Europe over the past few years has actually been the other way - towards bringing private assets back into public ownership’

‘Utilities in particular - water, energy and public transport - are being "remunicipalised." Utilities in particular - water, energy and public transport - are being "remunicipalised."

In France, water has been taken back from privateers in no less than 16 cities, including Bordeaux and Paris, home of utility giants Veolia Environnement and GDF Suez.

Water is in the process of returning to total public ownership in Berlin and Budapest too. In Italy plans to privatise water were knocked back in a referendum in 2011.

In Germany electricity has been undergoing a process of renationalisation as 2,000 private concessions expired. Sweden's parliament has rejected the privatisation of power company Vattenfall, a major player in wind power in Britain.

In Hungary the state is taking back control of the energy sector, part of which is controlled by German transnational Eon - which also has substantial holdings in Britain. And in Latvia privatising electricity company Latvenergo has been declared illegal.

It's true of transport too. Bus services have been brought back into public ownership in France. Rail has been renationalised in Estonia and Germany, halting privatisation plans for Deutsche Bahn.’