Services of General Economic Interest and Universal Service in EU Law
European Law Review, No. 2, 2008
37 Pages Posted: 23 May 2008 Last revised: 29 Aug 2008
Date Written: May 1, 2008
Abstract: Services of general economic interest (SGEI) are an EU legal category that provides an exception to the competition rules for the proportionate pursuit of legitimate public interest goals by private undertakings. While remaining the subject of intense debate at EU level, SGEI have played an important role in liberalising the network industries and are likely to play a similar role elsewhere in future. This paper covers recent developments concerning SGEI, discusses universal service obligations as the key content of SGEI and proposes a structured test for applying SGEI in a proportional manner, based on the concept of market failure.
Keywords: Competition law; EC law; Proportionality; Public interest; Public services; Single Market; State aid; Supply of services; Undertakings
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