EU 'does not want to privatise Third World'

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The Independent Online

The European Commission rejected as "patently false" yesterday claims that it is demanding that several Third World countries privatise their public monopolies as part of the new global trade talks.

EU trade officials did confirm that they had asked for key sectors such as water distribution and energy in developing countries to be opened to more foreign competition.

The EU stance was revealed in leaked draft documents detailing the Union's opening bids in world trade negotiations.

Dave Timms, a spokesman for the pressure group World Development Movement, said utilities could move "from state control to the private sector". But a spokesman for Pascal Lamy, the European trade commissioner, said that to say the EU was seeking privatisation was "patently false".