What does expropriation mean in general?
Expropriation (in the 19th century borrowed from French expropriation, from Latin proprius "own, peculiar") is the legal term used to denote the deprivation of ownership of an immovable or movable property by the state, within the framework of the law and against compensation. In colloquial language, confiscation, withdrawal without compensation, is often referred to as expropriation. The expropriation of means of production or companies is usually referred to as nationalization (according to Article 15 of the Basic Law as socialization), the expropriation of land on a large scale as land reform or land reform (land as a synonym for landed property). An overriding purpose serving the common good is cited as the justification for expropriations for traffic, military and other reasons related to state tasks. This is usually the reason for individual expropriations too.
There are widespread confiscations (“expropriations”), for example, after wars of conquest, when the winners take everything away from the losers, or after major domestic political changes such as revolutions.
Since property is one of the basic rights in market-based democracies, expropriations are only possible there in certain legally regulated exceptional cases. In central administrative economies, on the other hand, the state is usually the main owner and administrator of the means of production, so that their expropriation has become general law.
In 1919, the Habsburg Law ordered the confiscation of the Habsburg-Lorraine Family Fund, i.e. the confiscation of the foundation assets of the former ruling family (which had served to support needy family members) in favor of the care of victims, widows and orphans of the First World War. The private property of individual members of the dynasty and other property of the (title-abolished) nobility remained untouched. The Habsburg law was relaxed in the corporate state before 1938 and the Schuschnigg government began a partial return, but the confiscation was immediately renewed by the Nazi regime (which is why Habsburgs fighting for the family fund also see themselves as victims of the Nazi regime).
After the “Anschluss” to the “Third Reich”, from 1938–1941 40 villages with their entire property, well over 200 km², were drawn in by the Reich for a new military training area in the Lower Austrian Waldviertel; the residents were evacuated. The Red Army did that in 1945German property taken over and continued to use the space; it was followed by the Austrian Armed Forces after 1955, so that a return discussion remained inconclusive. Today the Allentsteig military training area is the largest military training area in Central Europe; Foreign associations also practice on it. The former owners were never adequately compensated.
The restitution (restitution) of the de facto or de jure confiscated Jewish property in Austria after 1945 proceeded hesitantly and half-heartedly and has not yet been completed with regard to confiscated works of art.
The Union does not have its own uniform set of legal instruments for expropriations. Each Member State applies its own body of law in this regard. Any obligation under antitrust law to outsource and sell parts of a company (prescribed by Union organs) does not constitute expropriation, since the affected parts of the assets do not become Union property, but rather into the hands of private buyers.
The separation of power grids and energy companies proposed by the EU antitrust authorities is denounced by them as “expropriation”. This is a polemic, not a legal claim.
In connection with the global and European financial crisis, structures of international and European cooperation are now becoming visible, which resolve regulations or enforcement of conditions in what is still largely informal cooperation. In particular, the G-20, OECD, World Bank, IAIS, Basel (banking), IOSCO and the IMF should be mentioned.
A “cold expropriation” is colloquially understood as a measure (by law or administrative act) that leads to people being de facto deprived of their property without actually being expropriated in the legal sense. The term is mostly used polemically. One example is the introduction of environmental zones, through which some residents are forced to give up their cars, which can only be retrofitted at great expense or not at all. Another example is the reallocation process, in which land is upgraded (e.g. from agricultural land to commercial land): Owners who cannot or do not want to contribute to the costs of development are forced to sell.
Sources & individual references
- Stuart E. Eizenstat:Imperfect justice (Original title:Imperfect Justice), Bertelsmann, Munich 2003 (ISBN 3-570-00680-8), p. 352 ff.
- SPIEGEL January 10, 2007:DESTRUCTION OF THE MONOPOLIES - Energy companies fear expropriation
- Matija Nuic:The EU in the international financial market architecture, Pp. 14 - 16 in: The Zurich Globalist 2012: Europa - Quo vadis?
- see also the illustration, p. 14, loc. cit.
License information for this article
This article is based on the Wikipedia article cited in the sources, available under the license “CC BY-SA 3.0“.
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