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The European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Area could bring a wave of privatizations

The European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Area, which is expected to be signed this year, could bring a wave of privatizations. “Vietnamese companies should also be aware of the challenges brought about by free trade agreements, and especially the EVFTA. These are related to higher requirements from the EU market in terms of transparency and competition, both for private and state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The FTA is not necessarily seeking complete privatization, but rather the opening up of those economic sectors where SOEs are present. Vietnamese enterprises may expect to see an impact from this process, provided that the FTA promotes reforms in public procurement.”

Source: www.mondaq.com

Consensus no more: how a wave of municipalisations in Europe is challenging privatisation

A wave of privatisations made its way from the shores of Britain in the 1980s to reach a tsunami on Europe’s shores in the 1990s, western as well as eastern. Former state monopolies in “strategic sectors” were privatised to encourage innovation, promote economies of scale, reduce public debt, attract foreign direct investment and improve productivity.

Source: New Europe

We Need More Social Investment But No More PPPs

Europe needs to spend €1.5 trillion on social infrastructure between now and 2030 to redress the massive underspend over recent years and to address the increasing demands on social services. This is one of the main arguments of the report, Boosting Investment in Social Infrastructure in Europe, from the High-Level Task Force (HLTF) set up by the European Long-Term Investors’ Association and supported by the European Commission. While the report is very good in identifying the scale of the problem, it fails to address some of the key reasons why spending on social infrastructure has been too low for too long and so puts too much emphasis on an increased role for private finance.

Source: Social Europe

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Public Private Partnerships in the EU: Widespread shortcomings and limited benefits

The European Court of Auditors (ECA’s) special reports set out the results of its audits of EU policies and programmes, or of management-related topics from specific budgetary areas. The ECA selects and designs these audit tasks to be of maximum impact by considering the risks to performance or compliance, the level of income or spending involved, forthcoming developments and political and public interest. Speaking ahead of the ECA’s report release, PSI Deputy General Secretary, David Boys said: “For decades trade unions, civil society groups and the wider public fought against the failed privatisation agenda. Now that the EU’s very own financial watchdog is clearly saying PPPs are a bad idea, it’s surely time for leaders to take note.”