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Services of general interest in the EU: a citizens’ perspective on public versus private provision (EUsers)
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The EUsers Network aims at encouraging the diffusion of innovative teaching approaches, applied research and policy debate on services of general interest (SGI) in the European Union (EU) from a citizens’ perspective, by creating a network of six universities. The focus of the EUsers Network on SGI stems from their increasing relevance in the EU policy debate. Since mid-1990s the role of SGI in the construction of Europe started to be publicly discussed . Today, SGI are recognised to be a key aspect in fostering European social and territorial cohesion and ensuring the enjoyment of fundamental rights to EU citizens. Although its understanding is affected by differences in the national traditions and practices, the notion of SGI is based on a common set of values and goals (e.g. universality of access, affordability, etc.) and encompasses all services that respond to a logic of common interest . The scope of the EUsers network’s activities will focus mainly on network SGI such as energy, telecommunications, transport and environmental services. In particular, the contribution of the EUsers network to the EU policy debate on SGI will be to analyse the users’ perspective. SGI will be examined through the lenses of citizens as users, and the public or private nature of their provision will be evaluated in terms of consumers’ welfare effects. How should governments define the mission, performance criteria, and governance mechanisms of public enterprises providing SGI? How should they regulate the enterprise if provision is private or mixed? The EUsers Network’s activities will include 45 seminars, 2 Roundtables, a Summer School for Master and PhD level students and two coordination meetings . The different outputs of these activities will be made available to partners and disseminated to the general public through a new website, newsletters and e-book.
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