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New Public Management and services of general economic interest : An impact on Union law?

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Title: New Public Management and services of general economic interest : An impact on Union law?
Author(s): Wiik, Peter Sebastian
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Discipline: Law and economics
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2014
New Public Management (“NPM”) is a reform movement with the intent of increasing efficiency in the public sector. NPM reforms have had a great impact on organization of the public sectors in the EU Member States during the last 25 years. There has been considerable research done from a political science and economics point of view into the subject. The concept of public services in EU law is closely related to the legal concept of services of general economic interest (“SGEI”) which is mentioned in the treaties. The 2003 Altmark ruling and the 2009 BUPA ruling have shaped the way Member States finance SGEI. This thesis sets out to research the relationship between New Public Management and public services in a Union law context in the form of SGEI. One of the underlying questions is whether NPM ideas have affected the legal concept of SGEI. This thesis reviews the literature on the origins of, ideological background on and policy suggestions of the NPM movement. In turning to the law this thesis focuses on the treatment of public services in EU law, the legal basis of SGEI as well as the pre-Altmark case law regarding the application of Article 106(2) TFEU. In turning to the financing of SGEI the thesis reviews the Altmark and BUPA cases as well as other relevant and more recent cases. By using the information obtained from a review of literature on NPM this thesis analysis the relationship between NPM and SGEI. The main findings are that marketization reforms undertaken in EU Member States, such as privatization and liberalization, especially in such areas as health care, have opened up previously more “guarded” national competence areas to the scope of Union competition law. This situation has forced the courts to increasingly deal with concepts of non-market values in competition law and a specific area of law is beginning to form. The dismantling of monopolies through liberalization has also lead to a shift in from the use of Article 102 to the use of Article 107 when challenging state supported undertakings. Additionally, some of the criticism aimed at NPM regarding its compatibility with so called public service values, can be noticed in the legal debate, albeit within a legal context. Arguably NPM has had a great impact on shaping the environment in which EU law operates.

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