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  Utilities/Services of General Interestslide

The term «services of general economic interest» refers to services of an economic nature which the Member States or the Community subject to specific public service obligations in order to fulfil a general interest mission. The concept of services of general economic interest covers certain services provided by big network industries such as transport, postal services, energy and communications. However, the term also extends to any other economic activity subject to public service obligations. " Services of general interest" are broader than «services of general economic interest» since they cover both market and non-market services. These services are deemed essential to ensure citizens' participation in social and economic life.

Key elements of services of general interest are universal service obligations, i.e availability/accessibility, price affordability and quality. The approach to Services of General Interest has changed over recent years, and has been characterised by increased liberalisation, consumer safeguards and intensive exchange of views on the European citizenship and the values in the European society

At the EC level, the principal policy orientations of the Commission are to be found in the White Paper on Services of General Interest CS DA DE EL ES ET FI FR HU IT LT LV MT NL PL PT SK SL SV pdf which draws the conclusions from the debate that was launched by the Commission Green Paper on Services of General Interest DA DE EL ES FI FR IT NL PT SV pdf (2003).

See also the Communication on Services of General Interest of 1996 (682 KB), the provisions in the Amsterdam treaty ES DA DE EL FR IT NL PT FI SV and the Commission Communications of 20 September 2000.



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