Focusing public policies on debt reduction is of essential importance to the European Union and its member states. Can privatisation help solve Europe’s debt crisis?

United Europe and the Bertelsmann Stiftung are jointly presenting a study drawn up by the Economica Institute in Vienna which details the revenue potential of privatisation in the European Union.

Download UnitedEurope Privatisation_Potential Economica Report

Download UnitedEurope Privatisation Potential Economica presentation

Read report: Make Privatisation Part of the European Growth Agenda

The study finds that privatisation proceeds could amount to more than half a trillion Euros. This figure is based on a detailed analysis of the largest ten Eurozone countries according to GDP as well as four non-Eurozone countries (the United Kingdom, Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania), altogether covering about 90% of all potential privatisation proceeds in the EU.

In contemplation of this sum, the question arises: to which use should these resources be put?

In the short term, revenues from privatisation could, of course, help reduce public debt. Some of the money could also be used to fight youth unemployment in countries like Spain or Greece. Yet from an economic point of view, it is the long-term positive effects of private ownership on competitiveness, innovation and growth that are most important. They constitute the key argument in favour of privatisation.

Public scepticism towards privatisation remains, but such a policy does in fact offer governments a tremendous opportunity to encourage investment and revive labor-markets.

Wolfgang Schüssel; Fabrizio Saccomanni; Sylvie Goulard; Leonhard Birnbaum; Christian Helmenstein
Wolfgang Schüssel; Fabrizio Saccomanni; Sylvie Goulard; Leonhard Birnbaum; Christian Helmenstein

United Europe, a pro-European organization founded in 2013, and the Bertelsmann Stiftung presented Economica’s research report “Privatisation Potential in the European Union” followed by a high level panel discussion:

Dr. Christian Helmenstein, Board Member of Economica Institute

Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel, President of United Europe

Sylvie Goulard, Member of the European Parliament
Dr. Leonhard Birnbaum, Member of the Executive Board of E.ON AG
Fabrizio Saccomanni, Former Minister of Economy and Finances, Italy

The event took place on 13 October 2014 at the Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to the EU, Rue Montoyer 47, 1000 Brussels.