Full text: Comparison of European water supply and sanitation systems (197b)

remain under public ownership, although these systems are only returned to the public sector after the contractual term has ended in the operator model. Mixed-economy companies are often included under the heading “cooperation models” in PPP lite- rature. For these, either shares of an existing publicly-owned company can be sold to private compa- nies or a new company is established under private law which is generally held in majority public ownership. Often, the public party hands over operational business to the private shareholder. The European Commission coined the term ‘institutional PPPs’ for mixed-economy companies to distin- guish them from those previously denoted as contractual PPPs. From a global perspective, PPPs have progressed very dynamically in water supply and sanitation since the early 1990s. This was motivated particularly by various projects in developing countries, backed by international development banks and national funding bodies. The unconditional faith placed in the efficiency of markets with respect to solving central resourcing problems, including those in the field of public services, even led to the idea of a “(...) dawn of a new utility model (...)” (Kessides, 2004: 35). Around the mid-2000s, PPPs in the water sector reached their peak to date (World Bank, 2018) with regard to their practical implementation. Since then, the number of PPP projects imple- mented has dropped by more than half and the capacity (measured by the number of transactions) has fallen from USD 10-14 billion to USD 4-5 billion (Massarutto, 2016). Overall, concession and ope- rator models were predominant in water supply and sanitation at a global level (Ménard, 2013). How- ever, since the mid-2000s, a trend has emerged towards increased assumption of risks by the public sector (Massarutto, 2016). As a result, 60 projects – representing around 35 % of all invest- ment – had to be terminated ahead of time or ran into financial difficulties. The financial sustainability of most other projects could only be ensured by drastic renegotiations (World Bank and PPIAF (Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility), 2013). From both a global and a European perspective, the importance of the sector in comparison to other key areas of infrastructure, especially energy and telecommunications, is relatively low (Ménard, 2013). Figure 9 gives a breakdown of PPPs in the EU according to sector, based on one of the most comprehensive data sources available. It contains 1,184 projects with approximately EUR 270 billion in transactions for the time period between 2000 and 2015. More than half of this – EUR 150 billion – is accounted for by the transport sector (airports, railways, urban rail systems and especially road construction). This is followed by the field of “Welfare and Defence” which encompasses a range of building construction projects for schools, hospitals, prisons, national defence and the police as well as administrative buildings. Overall, the importance of PPPs in the EU has declined since the surge leading up to the economic and financial crisis of 2008/09 (Tomasi, 2016).

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