Services of general interest and cohesion
The “Services of general interest (SGI) and cohesion” group will consider the territorial impact of the distribution of general interest services, which up till now have not been examined as such. Several European reports underscore territorial evaluation of SGI. One of our main objectives is to precisely define the relations between the territorial distribution of SGI and territorial cohesion. We shall do so, first, by evaluating the territorial impact of SGI and, second, by examining the capacity of cohesion policy to respond to these issues. These questions also concern “remote and slow to develop” regions of the EU. What’s more, as a result of polarization, certain regions have less access to SGI and certain social groups are sometimes excluded from them. Is there a clear relationship between lesser development (or even a lack of SGI) and negative social indicators? Finally, under pressure from growing liberalization, these social groups can be genuinely affected. How might cohesion policy correct these dynamics of exclusion and even invert the territorial inequalities to which growing polarization has given rise? Are common community rules for SGI necessary to guarantee their existence and/or smooth operation and thus their distribution across all regions? Or is it rather necessary to go back to rules defined by the Member States under jurisprudential control (CJCE and Commission)? Is it even possible to define organizational and operational rules applicable in all Member States (cf. the ongoing work of the EP intergroup)? Given that the distribution of SGI reflects social and political debates and consensus, how might cohesion policy exert pressure on public authorities to promote change?
The objective of this group will be to establish these relationships in all of their forms by taking into consideration the realities of each type of territory, the relations between European policies and the reference frameworks established and developed by the European Union.
See the programme of the 2010 - 2011 workshops of the group in pdf format.