Privatization and Europeanization:The Changing Context of Water Supply in Britain and France
This paper examines changes in the provision of water services, and in particular drinking water supply, in two Member States of the European Union, Britain England and Wales and France, by considering the impact of the twin processes of water service privatization and the Europeanization of environmental regulatory regimes. The paper demonstrates that in two nations with very different water service traditions, the articulation of these processes has led to profound shifts not only in management style but also in the perception of drinking water supply as a service to consumers. The British and French models are compared as are their responses to these twin processes. It is argued that while the British model has proved more responsive to the exigencies of European Union environmentalstandards,this has been at the expense of public confidence. In France, the existence of a well established traditional management style is, potentially, under greater long term threat from the growth of private water companies and the increasing importance of European legislation.
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