"Empowering Europe`s citizens"?: towards a charter for services of general interest
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This article analyses the development of the European Union (EU) project of a Charter for Services of General Interest (SGI) from the mid-1990s to the publication of the White Paper on Services of General Interest and the draft European Constitution in 2004. Though service charters are often associated with New Public Management (NPM) reforms related to privatization, they are also an integral part of the process of EU institution building, and need to be understood alongside developments such as the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Using a four-stage model of international NPM convergence analysis four phases of the Charter for SGI experience are examined and compared to Anglo-Saxon experiences. Though there are important similarities linking the charter initiatives in the EU and the Anglo-Saxon world, there are also a number of important differences, which can be explained by the project to construct a supranational political citizenship, as well as vital institutional differences in capabilities related to EU competences and issues of governance.
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