Europe nationalizes to face the crisis

France, Italy, Spain in bid to nationalize businesses, hospitals as virus hits

Mar 17, 2020
France stands ready to nationalize large companies “if necessary” to protect the economy from the fallout of the coronavirus epidemic, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday.
“I will not hesitate to use any means at my disposal to protect large French enterprises,” the minister said during a conference call with journalists. “This can be through capital injections or stake purchases. I can even use the term nationalization if necessary,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Italian government said it intends to renationalize the bankrupt former national carrier Alitalia under an emergency economic rescue plan for the coronavirus pandemic.
The plan’s details were outlined in a government decree published late Monday. Italian media reported that it could cost taxpayers up to 600 million euros ($670 million).
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government on Monday agreed to a 25-billion-euro rescue designed to shield families and businesses from the economic fallout of an outbreak that has killed more than 2,100 people in Italy.

UK partial rail nationalisation to battle coronavirus

The UK has partially nationalised its railways as a temporary measure battling the coronavirus crisis. Rail freight remains in commercial hands, while the UK government has taken charge of the passenger rail network. All commercial franchisees have been suspended for at least six months from today. Given that the infrastructure manager Network Rail is a government agency, that leaves freight as the most significant commercial operation on the British railway network.
The announcement was made shortly after 7AM on Monday morning, just as a reduced passenger timetable came into effect. In other times this would be extraordinary, but today it is just one more example of the magnitude of times in which we live. Yet, the last time the UK saw similar measures was in 1914 and 1939.
Keep core services running
The British rail network has been distributed to private parties through concessions. These concessions have now been lifted for at least six months. The UK government assumes all operating risks. The rail operators still receive compensation for running trains.
The joint decision, between government and train operating companies, also enables important freight services to continue, ensuring sector can support movement of goods and supplies while passenger services continue for those most at need, says the statement. “Government and rail operators across the UK agree reductions in service levels following reduced passenger demand as people change their travel patterns to help tackle spread of COVID-19”, says a government statement from the Department for Transport.

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