Tjenesteydelser af almindelig økonomisk interesse i et juridisk & økonomisk perspektiv

Niels Brandt-Jørgensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Although the term ‘services of general economic interest’ (SGEI) is of vital importance within the European Union, the term has never been properly defined in any EU legislation or EU case law. This vague legal definition conflicts with the significant importance of the term, as it has the power to influence the societal development within the Union. Through an analysis of the current EU-law and case law on the matter, this thesis first of all strives to clarify which factors must be taken into consideration when defining services as SGEI. While article 106 (2) TFEU is considered to be the most significant provision relating to SGEI, it doesn’t provide any tangible guidelines designating which services that may constitute SGEI. Instead, an analysis of the case law relating to SGEI proved useful in this regard. The European Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance provide several general interests through case law, which have been given particular attention when defining SGEI. Thus the legal analysis concludes that services should not be defined as SGEI based on kind, but rather on an evaluation of whether or not the fulfillment of the service safeguards these general interests. Subsequent to the legal analysis the thesis turns towards the economic aspects of SGEI. Here it is examined whether SGEI can be used as a political tool by member states to remedy market failures within a market; the examination shows that this is the case when market failure is caused by a natural monopoly, pure public goods (partly) or mixed public goods, and negative or positive externalities. In this context it proves necessary to carry out a cost-benefit analysis, in order to make sure that this kind of public regulation in markets only happens when it is in the best interest of society. Finally a politico-legal analysis is carried out, evaluating different ways on how to improve the current legal position surrounding SGEI. This analysis illustrates the necessity to integrate the legal results and the economic results throughout the thesis, in order to ensure proportional public regulation from which society can prosper

EducationsMSc in Commercial Law, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages72