European Council

SSGI Public procurement

Social services are increasingly faced with the logic of public procurement. A strong trend can be detected: public procurement is chosen increasingly as a tool for managing some social needs.

Fundamental rights are at stake in social services: e.g. the right of access to placement services, the right of access to social security benefits and social services, the right of access to preventive health care and to medical treatment, the right of access to services of general economic interest.

Within the context of the 3rd Forum, the following question arises (again): how can Social Services be dealt with from the standpoint of public procurement.

SSGI State aid

Does European State Aid legislation have a major effect on the way non-profit organisations and social services organise and fund their activities? Yes, if SSGI are SGEI and no, if they are SGNEI. It all depends on xhether social services can be considered economic or non-economic activities. The boundary is sometimes blurry, but one thing is sure: they are all SGI: services of general interest. This general interest mission must be ensured in normal times, but also in times of crisis.

Fundamental rights are at stake as far as sociam services are concerned: e.g. the right of access to placement services, the right of access to social security benefits and social services, the right of access to preventive health care and to medical treatment, the right of access to services of general economic interest.

European State Aid rules apply to SGEI and more particularly to their funding methods and schemes. These rules were laid down with a view to the provision of public services while ensuring that the conditions of fair competition still apply. At the dawn of the 3rd forum, the question has become: how to deal with these social services from the standpoint of these rules, so that their social mission can be fulfilled? Ultimately, all technical questions relating to thresholds, payments, public service compensation, jurisprudence or common rules, such as the ones at issue in the ‘Altmark’ dispute, show the will of the States, the social actors and the Union to enact a social policy.

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