No Privatization of Water, Education and Health Care through the GATS Backdoor
AK president: The Government negotiates behind closed doors and leaves the population uncertain
By AK Vienna Online
[This short article from November 14, 2002 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.akwien.at/auss_11331.htm.]
At the opening of the AK symposium "Selling off of the State", AK president Herbert Tumpel warned of a threatening privatization of the water supply, public education, public health and local transportation "through the GATS backdoor". The negotiations in the context of the WTO services agreement GATS on a radical liberalization of these past public services will soon enter a heated phase.
Tumpel criticizes the Austrian government for not taking a position on this important question affecting all Austrians as employees and consumers. "The economics minister negotiates in Brussels behind closed doors", Tumpel said, "without informing the public." The AK president urges the government to vigorously oppose the privatization of public services. "The water supply, education and health are much too important to be left to private corporations," Tumpel said.
The AK president warned that the economy and industry press for opening the Austrian water supply to private multinationals. "A privatization of such important services has negative effects on employees and consumers", Tumpel said. "We want a modernization and improvement of these important areas instead of a selling out."