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Consumers (25-07-2007)

Studies on services of general interest

The European Commission has published today a series of studies that cover services of general interest such as energy, telecommunications, postal services and transport, water and banking. Only 20 years ago, the majority of these services was organized by State-controlled monopolies. Now that network infrastructure (rail tracks, telephone cables, pipeline etc) can be separated form services to the clients, competitive market conditions have become a reality and consumers have a wider choice. 
The European Commission has launched three studies to evaluate the citizens' views on the ranking of the quality of services of general interest provided. The first study assesses consumer satisfaction levels using a survey and statistical analysis of results; the second one is a Eurobarometer survey covering a wide range of consumer issues related to the provision of essential services; the third is a qualitative evaluation based from focus group discussions. The three studies complement each other.
Consumers appear to be most satisfied with air transport (66%) and mobile telephony (66%), whilst the greatest dissatisfaction lies with fixed telephony (8%), urban transport 9%) and extra urban transport. With regards to access to services, the situation has improved considerably. The same can be said about prices, except for electricity and gas which have risen in price. A general overview of the system in place shows that, depending on the service in question, between 50% and 70% of polled citizens consider their interests to be 'well protected', with results however differing greatly between EU Member States.
For further information, please visit:
Consumer satisfaction study
Eurobarometer survey
Focus group on Services of General Interest
Studies on services of general interest