EU driven reforms of services of general interest benefit consumers and improve performance
European Commission - IP/05/1690 22/12/2005
Brussels, 22 December 2004
Reforms of services of general economic interest (SGEI), such as telecommunications, air transport and postal services, have produced clear benefits for European consumers in terms of lower prices, choice and better services a European Commission report shows. However, current progress is slow and there remain obstacles to competition and to the completion of the European single market. These issues should be tackled by both the Commission and Member States. Increasing competition in these industries is also key for the Member States that joined in 2004 in order to avoid any inflationary pressures resulting from the catching-up process.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "This report shows that EU rules enabling more competition are having a positive effect on the essential services that Europeans use every day. The results for new Member States are particularly encouraging. But there is no room for complacency – overall progress could be much quicker and many market barriers still remain."
The report into the so-called network industries covers electricity, gas, telecommunications, postal services, air, road and rail transport sectors in the 25 Member States of the EU. Together, these sectors represent around 6-8% of the value added and 5% of EU employment.
This is the second time the Commission assesses progress to improve the performance of network industries in the EU. The first one was published in 2002. This year’s report also compares market performance between 'old' and 'new' Member States.
The main conclusions of the report are:
The full text of the report and a detailed annex are available at:
 In some cases the water sector is also included due to the aggregation of data sources (e.g. in the area of employment the aggregated data for electricity, gas and water was used).