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Public Services and European Integration

Author: PASCAL DE LIMA AND BRUNO VENTELOU
Published in PFM, Vol. 5 No. 3

We first describe briefly the process by which the State withdraws in Europe, under pressure from
both the process of European integration (the creation of the single market) and, of course, the
process of globalization-liberalization, which began some two decades ago. In this part, we deals
with issues of intervention in general terms, canvassing some economic arguments for reducing
the State suggesting that the real reason may be ideological and sometimes forced by
globalization. We also investigate the future of public services in Europe, in terms of their
missions. Are public service missions seriously, and necessarily, impaired by European economic
integration? What is the present situation? What is the position of the Commission - in word and
in deed? This part looks at the EU regime on competition, trying to answer various questions like
how it has been interpreted and how it affects the privatization issue. We show last, with examples
drawn from the experience of different countries of universal services in the banking sector, that it
is rather difficult to maintain a proactive approach to public services within this competition
framework. Here, we discuss the State provision of banking as a case study of the tension between
public provision and competition.

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