Article 86 EC, the Ec’s Economic Approach to Competition Law, and the General Interest

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Series Details Volume 5, Number 2, Pages 549-584
Publication Date May 2009
ISSN 1744-1056
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"Article 86 EC is intended to regulate the relationship between services of general economic interest (SGEIs) and the economic rules found in the EC Treaty, notably those on competition, state aid and free movement. On the one hand it provides that states must not regulate SGEIs in a way conflicting with these Treaty rules, in Article 86(1), but on the other it provides also that the rules will not apply to undertakings providing SGEIs if this would obstruct their public service mission, in Article 86(2). The article therefore emphasises that economic law does in principle apply to SGEIs, but also provides that this application may be limited where necessary. It embodies a compromise between the benefits of the free market and social interests, such as the need for universal access to important services and the stable, high quality provision of these, which may be better served by regulated, even restricted markets."

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