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Home > Competition Law > Glossary of competition terms

Services of general economic interest

Services of an economic nature, the provision of which can be considered to be in the general interest. For example: basic, publicly accessible supply of energy, telecommunication, postal services, transport, water and waste disposal services. The Member States are primarily responsible for defining what they regard as services of general economic interest on the basis of the specific features of the activities concerned. However, their definitions are subject to the Commission’s control for manifest errors where Member States specifically entrust undertakings within the meaning of Article 86(2) of the EC Treaty with services of general economic interest. The precise definition of the particular task assigned to the entrusted undertaking is an important element for assessing whether and to what extent it is justified for the State to grant exclusive rights or funds to that undertaking in order to ensure the fulfilment of the task.

See also: Article 14 TFEU and Protocol No 26 annexed to the TFEU

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