Conceptions of Public Service in European Law

Mark Freedland, Paul Craig, Catherine Jacqueson and Nicola Kountouris

in Public Employment Services and European Law

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199233489
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191716324 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in European Law

 Conceptions of Public Service in European Law

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This chapter provides the first comparative reconstruction and analysis of the different historical, political and legal traditions in the conceptualisation of public services (or ‘services of general interest’). Focus is on the two different, and perhaps opposite, national models of regulation embodied by the British and the French regulatory regimes. While inevitably European integration is acting as a catalyst for change in respect of both models, the starting point could be hardly more different. But EC law is increasingly engaging and challenging this regulatory base. Since 2004, the EC has been keen in preserving a concept of services of general economic interest (e.g., telecoms, network industries, etc.) and ‘universal service obligation’, and its sectoral liberalization approach have also guaranteed that some degree of national diversity still persists. Rather than talking about convergence and divergence dynamics, the conclusions point at a growing level of liberalization but with disparate national impacts.

Keywords: comparative study; France and Great Britain; EC law; services of general economic interest; liberalization

Chapter.  13965 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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