PositionSocial services of general interest

During its presentation in Brussels on 28 January of a study on social services of general interest (SSGI) in the internal market and the Treaty of Lisbon - co-published by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) - the Collectif SSGI, a think tank composed of providers of social and health services of general interest, boasted of 'the major advances in the new Treaty of Lisbon in terms of services of general interest'.

'Contrary to the analysis developed by the European Commission in its last communication of November 2007', says the study 'the Treaty of Lisbon has helped to renew the debate on SSGIs on new bases and to reposition inter-institutional relations on the question of services of general interest'. It also claims that the introduction in the new Treaty's general provisions of a new legal basis via co-decision 'clearly gives the Community co-legislators a mandate to establish by means of regulation the principles and conditions which make it possible to guarantee the satisfactory performance of missions of general interest in the EU'. A kind of user guide 'which should be established under the next mandate by ordinary legislative means, that is to say, after a genuine democratic debate and no longer exclusively by ad hoc decisions of the European Commission'. The addition of a new protocol on services of general interest also 'complements this legal basis with an affirmation of the wide-ranging discretionary power of the national, regional and local public authorities to provide, execute and organise SSGI'...

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