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

important differences must be noted here as primarily larger municipalities benefit from this decline (ONEMA (French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments), 2013). Several factors gave rise to these developments. In addition to the increase in inter-municipal coope- ration (which means fewer contracts are granted in total to all municipalities), re-municipalisation is particularly responsible for the decline in PPP contracts. The reduction in the duration of contracts and – at least in part – in the remuneration demanded are the key result of regulatory interventions since the 1990s. In turn, these were the result of a growing number of legal complaints and protests from municipalities as well as from national associations and local groups of consumers which – often suc- cessfully – denounced the excessive prices and corruption (Bauby, 2009; Reynaud, 2010). Irrespective of these developments, the level of competition is moderate – on average, 87 % of cases result in contracts being extended (Eufrance, 2017). An older study determined that almost one third – mainly smaller municipalities – only even get one offer (Reynaud, 2010). In light of this, the return to public “régie” offers an important alternative which should influence the behaviour of the three large water companies (see also Chong et al., 2015). In the 1990s, Hungary was considered a “Pannonian tiger” and was taken as a mode l country and a role model for economic and political reforms (Fink, 2006). The radical opening up of the economy using “shock therapy” (Kregel et al. 1993) did not blow over the water sector without leaving its mark. After extensive centralisation under communism, particularly at the end of the 1950s and start of the 1960s (Szabó and Quesada, 2017), extensive decentralisation and privatisation took place following the fall of the Berlin Wall (Horvath, 2016). After an initial wave of corporatisation (formal privatisation) in the first half of the 1990s, privatisa- tion by means of leasing contracts was prioritised from the second half of the 1990s (Hegedüs and Papp, 2007; Szabó and Quesada, 2017). For this, foreign investors focused primarily on larger cities and urban agglomerations. On the whole, private companies obtained minority shares (25-49 %) of the respective operational company. In most cases, however, they secured actual control in managing the company (through syndicate contracts) (Hegedüs and Papp, 2007). The unclear legal situation and implementation also meant that some procurement procedures took place without a tendering process. Since a change in legislation in 200613 there can no longer be private investment in operational supply companies in future, although this does not have a retroactive effect on existing companies (Szabó and Quesada, 2017). As such, many existing contracts will expire in future and will no longer be ex- tended in accordance with the current legal state of affairs. In contrast with Hungary, deregulation of the water sector in Portugal has progressed gradually and with a sector-specific focus since the early 1990s. One of the central aims of reform was the incorpo- ration of private companies and investments in light of budgetary shortages (Silvestre and Araújo, 2012; Teles, 2015). From that time, the private sector was able to participate in mixed-economy municipal or inter-municipal companies, either in the form of concessions or as a minority share- holder (Marques, 2013). The 29 concessions that have been granted since sector deregulation and 13 Act CXXI of 2006 on amending various acts founding the budget of the Republic of Hungary for the year 2007, Amendment to Act LVII of 1995 on water management (Szabó and Quesada, 2017: Footnote 8)

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