Evaluating EU policies on public services: a citizens´ perspective
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This article evaluates EU policies on public services – particularly public network
services - from the citizens´ point of view. It is first argued that citizens´ perceptions
about these services are important because they are essential for quality of life, but
also because they exhibit economic characteristics such as asymmetrical
information, adverse selection and positive externalities. Changing EU policy on
public services is synthesised and classified into two main phases in section two.
Citizen satisfaction with public services as revealed through surveys from 1997 to
2007 is explored in the third section. In the discussion, the prospects for EU policy
on public services are considered and, it is argued that, from the perspectives of
subsidiarity and proportionality, policy towards strengthening the common market is
being increasingly uploaded to the supranational level in the form of directives, whilst
cohesion and redistribution policies are being downloaded to the national level or
dealt with at the supranational level by “soft” instruments.