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Parliamentary questions
1 August 2013
Answer given by Mr Rehn on behalf of the Commission

The Commission has already stated that it does not have a policy of forcing Member States (MS) to privatise water services. The Commission recognises that water is a public good which is vital to citizens and that the management of water resources is a matter for MS, and therefore has a neutral position on the public or private ownership of water resources, in accordance with Article 345 of the TFEU. The Commission has already announced that it will remove water from the scope of the concessions directive and will continue to monitor the situation in this sensitive sector closely.

The choice of what, how far and in which sequence public assets or companies should be privatised remains entirely with the MS, taking into account the various constraints they face and objectives they set for themselves. EU-wide experience offers a variety of different public or private property models for water utilities. In both public and private models, there are cases of problematic outcomes, but also success stories. However, the Commission considers that the creation of a regulatory authority and an appropriate market functioning environment are crucial prerequisites for guaranteeing the success of any of these models to protect consumers' interests and maintain environmental values.

The assets included in the privatisation program for program countries are the exclusive result of the national authorities' decision. Discussions in the context of the adjustment programme are focusing on the overall program financing needs, including privatisation receipts resulting from the sales of state-owned assets to investors, but the design of the privatisation program and the choice of assets remain entirely with the MS concerned.

OJ C 55 E, 26/02/2014
Last updated: 6 August 2013Legal notice