Brexit, but still European Union pro-privatisation rules for Britain?

This 2008 video says about itself:

European unions protest plans to privatise European rail network

1. Wide pan protest to banner reading: (English) “No to EU rail privatisation”
2. Wide of banner reading (English): “National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers.”
3. Setup shot of Steve Todd, RMT UK, from Liverpool
4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Steve Todd, RMT UK, from Liverpool:
“We’re demonstrating against the break-up of rail networks across Europe and the privatisation of network rails across Europe. It’s the privateers who come and make big profit and destroy the rail network in the process.”
5. Wide of protesters
6. Various of protesters
7. SOUNDBITE: (Portuguese) Manuel Cruz, Portuguese rail worker:
“We are here trying and defend our European workers from European Union directives, which have tried to take rights away from us and have mounted a great attack against workers in the rail sector.”
8. Wide of protest
9. SOUNDBITE: (French) Bernard Thibault, CGT French Union leader:
“If all the EU railway unions in Paris are asking for the same thing then it’s a situation requiring urgent action from the President of the European Union, who only a few weeks ago was saying that some market activities didn’t make any sense and that a new era was coming. So it’s time to learn the lesson in our decision making, notably in the deregulation of railway transportation.”
10. Close of CGT badge
11. Mid of protesters and Thibault
12. Various of protest
13. Various of flares being set off
14. Various of protest


Thousands of rail workers protested in Paris on Thursday against EU plans to privatise national railways.

Train drivers from around Europe were protesting against EU proposals that will lead to the privatisation of international railway services in 2010, followed by domestic rail services.

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), an umbrella group for transport trade unions throughout Europe, said that while the objective was to gather thousands of rail workers form across 13 EU countries for the demonstration there would be no disruption to any services.

French unions claim the state-owned train systems are being made more profitable to the detriment of employees and network security.

Steve Todd from the British railway union, the RMT said his union had witnessed privatisation of the rail network in the UK, and wanted to show his support for his colleagues in Europe facing privatisation.

Portuguese rail unions also gathered in the French capital.

Bernard Thibault from the French rail union, the CGT called on the current President of the European Union, French President Nicolas Sarkozy to take action.

By Luke James in Britain:

Corbyn demands reform of EU pro-privatisation laws

Thursday 8th September 2016

JEREMY CORBYN will not back continued membership of the single market if it means Britain remains bound by pro-privatisation laws, his spokesman said yesterday.

The Labour leader wants to maintain tariff free trade in goods and services with the EU after Brexit but would not back membership without reform of state aid rules against public ownership, according to the party source.

“[Jeremy] has made clear that there are important aspects of the existing directives of the European Union that are damaging to working people and damaging to public services,” he told journalists in Parliament.

“If Britain had voted to Remain he would be pressing the case for reform of these things.

“So obviously we’re not in favour of negotiating a package which includes those requirements on Britain.” …

Mr Corbyn had earlier criticised Prime Minister Theresa May for peddling “free market dogma” as she set out plans in the Commons for post-Brexit trade deals.

He said: “We need a UK trade agenda that protects people and the environment.

“I urge the Prime Minister to stand with me against the use of Britain’s aid and trade policies to further the agenda of deregulation and privatisation in developing countries.”

His comments came after Brexit minister David Davis claimed the trade deal between the EU and Ceta, which would allow corporations to sue governments for loss of profits, was a “perfect starting point.”

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards tried but failed to gain assurances from Ms May that public services will be protected in any trade deal.

He said: “Striking trade deals with the rest of the world will be crucially important to ensure our goods and services can continue to be exported to the rest of the world.

“It is not, however, an excuse for Thatcherite, ultra-right-wing Tories to sell off our public services.”

Brexit deepens existential crisis of UK and European Union: here.

28 thoughts on “Brexit, but still European Union pro-privatisation rules for Britain?

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  10. Monday 3rd March 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    KEITH FLETT considers the opposition to the then EEC before the 1975 referendum

    THERESA MAY’S decision to give notice that Britain will leave the EU by invoking Article 50 on March 29 has proved controversial. It is by no means clear what terms if any will apply to a British exit from the EU or indeed how long this might take.

    No doubt the Tory government will have in mind making workers pay for any financial impact while protecting, as they can, their allies in business.

    Almost forgotten in the furore around Brexit is that during the 2016 referendum there was agreement even among most of those who wanted to remain in the EU that as an institution it required significant reform. Many who wanted to leave queried whether it was in fact possible to reform the EU.

    Much of the discussion was framed by how the EU had reacted to the election of a left of centre government in Greece. That matter remains unresolved but again has dipped out of media focus.

    It is too easy to forget that while leaving the EU has stirred political passions, when Britain joined what was then the EEC on January 1 1973 there were equally sharp controversies.

    The Tory government of Edward Heath had held a parliamentary vote on joining the EEC in 1972 but no referendum was held, because it was claimed this would be “unconstitutional.”

    Much of the Labour Party was opposed to EEC membership. Engineering union AUEW (now part of Unite) general secretary Hugh Scanlon was questioned about his position on Europe at a Labour Party NEC meeting on March 28 1973.

    Tony Benn recorded in his diary that Scanlon had said that he was not too fussed either way since, whether in or out, it was still capitalism that had to be to dealt with.

    Scanlon’s union had however moved the successful motion at the 1972 Labour conference committing the party, when in office, to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EEC. This underlined a key theme, namely that if Britain was to be in Europe it should be as the result of a democratic decision by the people, not just Parliament.

    This meant that before a Labour government held just such a referendum in 1975 — which decided to stay in Europe — Labour played no part in EEC institutions but rather boycotted them as undemocratic.

    Then Labour leader Harold Wilson was lucky indeed that social media did not exist then. He would have been subjected to much frothing about how Labour was not representing people properly.

    As it was, the Euro-fanatics had to make do with Roy Jenkins resigning as deputy leader of the party in April 1972 because the shadow cabinet had had the temerity to back the idea of holding referendum on EEC membership.

    The Guardian reported: “Labour’s elaborate house of cards on the common market collapsed in bitterness and confusion … with the resignation of its deputy leader,” underlining that its recent vitriol against Labour is nothing new.

    Opposition from the left went much further than Scanlon though.

    Benn notes in his diary for 1973 that Michael Foot, who 10 years later would be Labour leader, was opposed to the idea of the EEC full stop, believing that the world did not need any more power blocs like the US.

    He goes on to make a point which is surely as valid now as it was then: “The most important policy decisions such as those concerning the EEC … which involved a major shift of power to international organisations were reached without any serious examination of their impact on the democratic process and in complete disregard of the growing countervailing pressure to decentralise political power.”,-a-furore-back-then#.WOKUyGekIdU


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