European Integration, Market Liberalisation and Privatisation

  • Judith Clifton
  • Francisco Comín
  • Daniel Díaz Fuentes


At the end of the 1970s, the prospect of privatising the public enterprises which operated in sectors such as water, telecommunications, railways or air transportation seemed a thoroughly unappealing one in political terms. Not even the future privatisation ‘champion’, the British Conservative Party, envisaged this kind of reform when it came to power in 1979. Only two decades later, however, privatisation had become a global fashion. Certain industrial and service sectors were more deeply affected than others. Telecommunications had been totally or partially privatised in nearly all countries, as had selected companies operating in the airline industry, electricity generator and distributor firms. Privatisation had also affected public utilities such as gas and water, as well as other important parts of the public sector including hospitals and prisons. Privatisation had penetrated deeply into some economies to the extent that, much to the chagrin of privatisation promoters, in some regions, such as the EU, it was claimed there were few organisations left to privatise.1 As we have mentioned, Yarrow has pointed out the inadequacy of the dominant explanations for privatisation. Given the importance of the privatisation process to the economy, citizens and governments, this is a serious problem. Based on empirical analysis of the process of privatisation across the EU, some of the dominant explanations of privatisation are examined, including the ‘British paradigm’ and the ‘multiple logics’ approach, and it is enquired to what extent the process of EU integration and market liberalisation can be used as explanatory factors for this experience.


Privatisation Proceeds Public Enterprise Central European Country Market Liberalisation Privatisation Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith Clifton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francisco Comín
    • 3
  • Daniel Díaz Fuentes
    • 4
  1. 1.Universidad de OviedoSpain
  2. 2.Open University and University of LeedsUK
  3. 3.Universidad de Alcalá de HenaresSpain
  4. 4.Universidad de CantabriaSpain

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