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A banger a view of the Berlin water-Monopoly

Berlin was reunited after the fall of the Berlin wall, but economically in ruins. The city with 3.5 million inhabitants amassed billion in debt and was practically bankrupt. In order to plug holes, sold it at the end of the 90s, the silverware: Gas and electricity works, social housing and water supply.

Under the leadership of the CDU party, the former coalition changed with the SPD, the law, and ordered the Private to participate up to a share of 49.9 percent of the Berlin Water companies. In this respect, the law corresponded roughly to that of the Canton of Zurich on the 10. February to vote. The desperate city, was also immediately the customer: The French Multi-Vivendi (now Veolia) and the German energy company RWE bought in 1999 for 3.3 billion Mark (1.94 billion Swiss francs), 49.9 per cent of the water companies.

ominous secret Treaty

The Berlin city government was delighted, and the citizens they promised, the prices remained until at least 2003 stable. By 2014, no layoffs threatened. The Ultimate concealed politics and business but: In the secret contracts, the financially vulnerable to blackmail which has become the city gave the corporations the part contrary to the Constitution, rate of return guarantees. 8 to 9 percent of the profits should annually jump out, including through the allocation of notional interest. In addition, the transferred interest was paid on capital at unusually high rates. Berlin has committed itself even, for any losses out of its own resources to pay, should not come to a guaranteed profit once.

After 2003, the price of water increased suddenly by leaps and bounds. Within a few years Berlin was one of the cheap to the most expensive provider in Germany. Because the water company broke up under the pressure of the Private of all other activities, were also about 1000 out of 6000. For the private companies (and the city of Berlin) turned out to be the water monopoly as a gold mine. Between 1999 and 2010, Veolia and RWE have pulled not less than 1.3 billion Euro profit from it.

to fight back, But soon the citizens and the Opposition began. In 2007, a citizens ' initiative formed with the aim of "the Berliners their water back." 2010 obtained this in a referendum – the first successful in the city – that the government is illegal, the "morals" secret treaties open to had to put, and increased the political pressure. From left to right it was estimated the partial privatisation as errors. The cartel office also assessed several increases of the water price as "abusive" and decreed that Berlin had to give back a portion of earlier profits to the customer.

The former city government of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit (SPD), was now confronted with the unpleasant choice, to sue either of the contracts that had completed their predecessors to the benefit of the city Treasury (but to the detriment of the citizens), or to try the water holdings to repurchase.

repurchases elsewhere

As RWE and Veolia needed in the Wake of the financial crisis and energy transition, they were ready for sale. For a total of 1.3 billion euros – 400 million less than in the sale – bought in Berlin in 2012 and 2013, whose shares and has since been back to 100 percent over the water. It was the first complete re-nationalisation of a previously city-owned operation.

Today, the water in Berlin is rather cheap than expensive. Since 2005, the rates fell by almost 20 percent, while they rose in the rest of Germany by 20 percent. The water companies have announced that prices in 2021, to remain stable, in addition, it will invest 2.3 billion. Since 2012, the previously poverty-stricken Berlin takes more money than it spends – of course, due to billions of subsidies to the capital as well as financial compensation.

In Germany today are involved in more than half of the water utilities to private companies. According to a report from the cartel office, the municipality holds in a quarter of the 38 largest cities of its time not even the majority. Some cities have tried in the past few years, their investments to buy back (among other Stuttgart and Gelsenkirchen), or have already done it (for example, Potsdam and Leipzig). (Tages-Anzeiger)

Created: 31.01.2019, 10:27 PM

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