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State aid and nationalisation in the EU July 17, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I was reading this thread on the IT when what did I see but the tired old stuff about Corbyn’s programme in regard to state aid and nationalisation being illegal.

I’ve noted before that that is simply incorrect – as outlined here.

In a widely quoted report for the Renewal journal, Andy Tarrant and Andrea Biondi have undertaken a detailed analysis of claims that EU rules would present significant barriers to Corbyn’s industrial strategy. They looked at each of Labour’s economic proposals in the 2017 manifesto (26 in total).  17 would not fall within State Aid rules at all. 7 potentially do, but these would be exempted under current EU law. Only 2 measures would need to be reported under existing regulations and these could be structured to comply. With regard to nationalisation they suggest that little of Corbyn’s agenda would be affected, and point to the far higher proportion of public ownership in other EU countries.
State aid and nationalisation rules have not stopped Germany from municipalising energy provision and it has not prevented the operation of publicly owned railways throughout much of the EU. In Germany 90% of passenger services are run by the state railway company; in France both the main train operator and the infrastructure operator are state-owned; the same applies in Italy; the Spanish railways are virtually entirely in public ownership; as is the case in Belgium and Holland. Even in Sweden which has started to privatise its railways 80% of services are still publicly owned and run. See here.  In fact in recent years the UK has actually spent less on state aid as a percentage of GDP than most other EU states.  This has been the choice of successive Westminster governments, not the result of EU diktat.

You can read the whole piece here.

It is unbelievably frustrating to visit France or Spain or wherever and travel on nationalised transport, see municipal governmental services, see countless examples of public ownership in all areas of life and then read time and again how these cannot exist under EU rules and how the UK can not introduce them while a member state.

It does raise a question. Why did it take until after the referendum for this basic information to come to light for some? It’s as if on the British left there’s been a massive aversion to actually examining in a hard headed way what is possible and what is not in the context of the EU. Yet even now we hear mistruths and half truths and no truths at all about supposed limits on left governments functioning within the EU. It’s a great excuse, a diversion from the reality that so many parts of the left around Europe are unable to win anything like significant support. But it is a sign of weakness and indifference and ignorance. And worst of all it is so easily disprovable and in being disprovable it undermines the legitimacy of left approaches.

And we can see on the other island the effect of this politically. As Paul Mason notes here.

…all possible outcomes look so far away from the fantasies sold to leave voters…

Those fantasies (and lies) had real political power. We see it around us now. But it isn’t in the slightest advancing any functional left wing approach.


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