Privatisation in the European Union. Public enterprises and integration

Author (Person)
Publication Date 2003
ISBN 1-4020-7481-6
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Book abstract:

The ownership and control of the major public utilities has been a dogma-defining difference between the left and right wings of political opinion for much of the twentieth century. That the argument would evaporate with the speed that it has during the final decade of the century could not have been foreseen by either left or right. The ether of dogma has been burnt up in the heat of international competition.

This work examines that transformation and endeavours to assess the future role of public services in the European Union. Organised over four chapters, it begins by providing the historical background to public enterprise and explores such areas as defence, public finance, the lack of private initiative, market failures and the need to protect against foreign ownership. The extent to which Britain led and the rest of Europe followed is explored in chapter two, with a review of the privatisation experiences of all EU countries. Those experiences are analysed further in chapter three with the aim of testing some of the dominant discourses around at the time. The impact of the European Single Market and the gradual commercial and financial integration following from that are explored in chapter four. The work closes with a call for appropriate regulation in the light of recent crises in corporate governance and the dangers of excessive market power operating in a near monopoly situation.

The work will interest researchers, students and policy-makers interested in privatisation, EU policy and the history of public enterprises.

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