Referendum on the disclosure of the contracts for the privatisation of the Berlin Water Supply

Today was the referendum for disclosing the contracts for the partial privatisation of the Berliner Wasserbetriebe (Berlin Water Supply, 49.9% of which belong to the companies Veolia and RWE), which was initiated by the organisation “Berliner Wassertisch”. It has been accepted according to the preliminary results (German page of the election supervisor).

Living in Cottbus, I'm not directly affected, but I am convinced that, if something as essential as the public water supply is privatised, the contracts and agreements have to be public and be prepared with the participation of the elected representatives.

The main point of the referendum was (my translation):

§ 1 Obligation for disclosure

1. All contracts, resolutions and auxilary agreements that relate to the partial privatisation of the Berliner Wasserbetriebe and that have been made between the State of Berlin and private shareholders, have to be unconditionally disclosed according to §2 of this law. Clause 1, as well as the following legal provisions, apply also for future contracts, resolutions and auxiliary agreements.
2. Personal data of natural persons are exempt from disclosure.
3. Applicability of the exemption in clause 2 is determined by the Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. He is authorised to blacken the corresponding data.

(§2 contains details on how and when information is disclosed.)

In the case of Berlin, and additional point is that the investors had been guaranteed a minimum profit. That's rather disputable considering Berlin's strained budget. And should privatisation not save some money? (Anyway, I don't know if it would, in principle.) There's an according paragraph as well:

§ 3 Obligation for approval and examination

All contracts, resolutions and auxiliary agreements in the sense of §1 of this law as well as amendments of existing contracts, which could affect the budget of Berlin, also regarding possible future consequences, in the widest sense, require the approval of the Berlin Parliament. Existing contracts, resolutions and auxiliary agreements require a extensive, public examination and public discussion by the Parliament, including consultation by independent experts. The Parliament has to be granted a time of at least six months for the examination.

Let's hope that this helps.

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