waterjustice 17.7.2008


Kommentar zum Artikel:





Die Ankündigung der Stadt Paris, die Wasserversorgung wieder in die eigene Hand zu überführen hat von einigen Monaten für Aufregung gesorgt. Aus dem folgenden Artikel werden nun einige Details und Hintergründe der Rekommununalisierung deutlich. Interessant ist dabei vor allem die Andeutung eines Strategiewechsels der privaten Investoren. "Die Art und Weise der Kooperation zwischen Öffentlichen und Privaten werden sich ändern", lässt sich eine Vizepräsidentin von Suez zitieren. Und im nächsten Absatz wird angedeutet, dass der Bau und der Betrieb von Kläranlagen auch in Paris ein Geschäftsfeld sein könnte, das den Privaten erhalten bleibt. Betrachtet man dazu die aktuelle Strategie von Veolia in Deutschland, so zeigt sich, dass sich auch hierzulande der Schwerpunkt des Geschäfts des Konzerns auf die weniger in der Öffentlichkeit stehenden Bereiche Kläranlagen und sonstige Zulieferung und verschiebt. – David Hachfeld

"When Paris sneezes,
private water catches a cold"

from Global Water Intelligence, a pro-privatisation water sector magazine (July 2008)


The news that Paris will not re-tender its water distribution contracts should come as no surprise. Mario Alemi looks at how the move will affect municipal relations with the private sector.

When the municipality of Paris announced in June that water services in the capital would return to public hands, it pleased the municipalistes. The French private water industry is, however, unlikely to let the decision go without a fight. It now looks certain that Veolia and Suez Environnement will not have the opportunity to renew their contracts (which generate annual net income flows of about €60 million and €30 million, respectively) with Eau de Paris, because no tender offer will take place after the current contracts expire in December 2009.

Paris has been governed for the last seven years by the Socialist Bernard Delanoë, after 14 years under the right-wing leadership of Jacques Chirac. It was Chirac who, as Paris mayor in 1985, privatised the city’s water distribution and billing, keeping water production and wastewater collection in public hands.

When Delanoë won his first mandate, in 2001, the city council started looking at water with a different attitude. Anne Le Strat, a Green activist and an outspoken municipaliste, became the CEO of Eau de Paris, then a company with both private and public capital. In April 2007, the 28% stake held in private hands was repurchased from Eau et Force-Parisienne des Eaux (Suez Environnement) and Compagnie des Eaux de Paris (Veolia Environnement) and given to the state-owned financial institution Caisse des Dépôts (see GWI April 2007 p11).

At the time, Le Strat made clear that this was just the beginning, and in March 2008, Delanoë won a second mandate as mayor of Paris, with the full re-municipalisation of the capital’s water forming part of his electoral programme. Le Strat became deputy mayor in charge of water and sewerage, and subsequently announced the creation of a new single operator for the water of Paris, which will take the form of an EPIC (établissement public industriel et commercial).

“In six months we will have a new legal structure for Eau de Paris,” she confirmed to GWI. “After that, in December 2009, we are going to add water distribution and billing to this structure, once they have both been re-municipalised.”

Many analysts see the move as exclusively political and unilateral. “It is not just political,” Le Strat emphasises. “It is both a political and an economic move. Today, the city manages the production, transportation and treatment of water. We are going to keep all that, but we will add the distribution and the billing because we believe that a single operator working on the whole chain will be more efficient. In addition, the high costs of water production will be counterbalanced by incomes from billing.”

The reversion of the Paris contracts cannot be allowed to signal an end to collaboration between the public and private sectors in the capital’s water sector. “Nowadays, we face new challenges for water, both in terms of quantity, with high demand and increasingly difficult production, and of quality, because of the introduction of higher purification standards,” says Hélène Valade, VP for sustainable development at Lyonnaise des Eaux, the Suez Environnement subsidiary in charge of water distribution on the left bank of the Seine. “The public and private sectors must collaborate, although I think that in the future we are going to see a change in the way that collaboration will happen.”

If the public sector claims that there has not been enough competition in the past in awarding French contracts, the private sector can justifiably answer that Paris has one of the highest network efficiencies (85%) and one of the lowest water tariffs (€2.77/m3) of any European city. Emmanuel Adler from AConsult points out that Suez and Veolia have won most of the French contracts in water not because of French protectionism, but because of the lack of big competitors from abroad. Here again, things are changing, and Le Strat indicated to us that she does not exclude collaboration with the private sector going forward. It is likely that the private sector, at least in Paris, will still have a role to play in the design, construction and operation of water treatment facilities, and within this context, Le Strat is keen to see more international companies entering the French market, putting further pressure on Suez and Veolia.

Whatever the motivation behind this particular re-municipalisation, both the private and the public sectors in France have something to be worried about in the near future. The city council should consider that the private sector does not just bring technological expertise, but also a different way of managing manpower. Absorbing the 400 workers from Suez and Veolia, and finding substitutes in those cases where they prefer to stay with their former employer, might not be an easy task.

Private companies should consider the recent wave of newly elected municipaliste mayors. Grenoble’s water was re-municipalised in 2000, and even in Lyon, where Compagnie Générale des Eaux was born in 1853, there are rumours about renegotiation. Lastly, and more imminently, Veolia should think about its contract with the Greater Paris water authority – Syndicat des Eaux d’Ile-de-France (SEDIF) – a €415 million contract serving four million people and due to end in 2010. This could prove to be perfect prey for local administrators, closer to Le Strat than to Margaret Thatcher.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


Zurück zur Startseite

  2005 by wd team stuttgart      xxl sicherheit