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Developments in services of general interest: towards a values based recognition of the European consumer citizen?

Davies, J. (2013) Developments in services of general interest: towards a values based recognition of the European consumer citizen? Seminar Presentation presented to: International and European Law Research Seminar Series, University of Lincoln, 13 March 2013. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Seminar Presentation)
Abstract: The paper explores, with reference to the concept of the consumer citizen, the sectoral development of Services of General Economic Interest with their universal and public service obligations, and the values based service provision model introduced by Protocol 26 of the Lisbon Treaty. The concept of the consumer citizen and the ongoing development of Services of General Interest (both economic and social) can provide for two distinct sites of research interest. Yet it is also a fact that, when taken together, they provide a complementary focus the way in which a key area of the European social model is developing. Together, they help to illuminate, at least part, the way in which European societies are organised: how, both the economic and social, sectoral and geographic, organisation of Services of General Interest are effected by a developing legal and regulatory framework that is increasingly being shaped both for and by all of us as European consumer citizens. The seminar will examine the gradual development of Services of General Economic Interest and the protection of access to ‘essential services’, at an affordable price, through the exemption of such services from the normal competition rules and through EU secondary legislation that introduced Public and Universal Service Obligations. These are obligations that have shaped the monitoring of service provision, developed a role for independent regulators, and created an environment in which, through direct or indirect means, the consumer or user is increasingly provided with the opportunity to influence policy and service provision. The degree to which such opportunity may be exercised is however limited by many factors and influenced by developing legal frameworks that provide inter alia for consumer empowerment; consumer rights enforcement mechanisms; product and service information standards and competition rules. The seminar will conclude that the Lisbon Treaty revisions and in particular the inclusion of Protocol 26 will, in conjunction with Article 14 TFEU, shift the rhetoric in the sectoral secondary legislation at the EU level to reflect the ‘values’ language of the Protocol: this will take place over time as the sectoral legislation falls subject to review. Given the shared competency afforded to Services of General Economic Interest, this change is also likely to be reflected in any revisions to the national provisions of the Member States. The degree, to which the values of Protocol 26 will develop the content of Article 14 TFEU, and in what way, will only emerge over time. We must wait to see if the ‘values’ focus provides for a new impetus in the development of Services of General Economic Interest and to see if their scope of application is extended to Social Services of General Interest.
Subjects: K Law > KJ Europe > KJE949 European Union law
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions > HC94 By region or country > HC240 Europe > HC240.9.C6 Consumption
Creators: Davies, Jim
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > School of Social Sciences (to 2016)
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Business & Law > Law
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > Centre for Sustainable Business Practices
Faculties > Faculty of Business & Law > Law
Date: 13 March 2013
Date Type: Presentation
Event Title: International and European Law Research Seminar Series
Event Dates: 13 March 2013
Event Location: University of Lincoln
Event Type: Other
Language: English
Status: Unpublished
URI: http://nectar.northampton.ac.uk/id/eprint/5240

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