28/01/16 – Séminaire “Les services d’intérêt général et la cohésion territoriale dans l’Union européenne”

Union européenne

Le Groupe de Travail “Intégrations régionales” du LabEx DynamiTe organise un séminaire sur le thème “Les services d’intérêt général et la cohésion territoriale dans l’Union européenne”. Il se déroulera :

le jeudi 28 janvier 2016
de 9h30 à 12h30
EHESS – Bâtiment “Le France” (salle 005)
190-198 avenue de France – 75013 Paris

À cette occasion, Eduarda MARQUES DA COSTA, Professeure invitée du LabEx DynamiTe, donnera une conférence.

Résumé de son intervention :

Services of General Interest (SGI) are considered essential for promoting social and territorial cohesion and can be a major boost to the competitiveness of the European economy. The provision of quality services, accessible to all and with affordable prices, can play a key role to archive the objectives of Cohesion Policy.
In this context, as SGI are fundamental in EU cohesion and convergence process, the appropriate measurement and analysis of their regional disparities are necessary.
The national heterogeneity of services of general interest providing systems and the regional variation that exist across Europe can lead to significant disparities in the provision of SGI. Given the importance of these specific services in the cohesion and convergence process, the existing gaps must be recognized and reduced under the purpose of the policies success.
Several factors are related to disparities across the European regions. In this perspective, five main groups arise: demographic, economic, political, social and climate. Some of the most relevant factors are linked with the territorial dynamics and characteristics, as the demographic structure (linked to the ageing process) and the population density, but also related with the purchasing power, the accessibility or even the different political-administrative organization models.
To understand the relation between the regional disparities of SGI provision and some of the factors previous mentioned, it is essential to perform an analysis based in indicators. Relevant and adequate indicators that can show us some territorial evidences of the SGI provision but also, the regional differences linked to the specific factors.
In this context, different kind of indicators are considered: a group that represents providing or the availability of the services; a second group, related with expenses/investment in the services representing the organization of social systems; and a final group of indicators that represents contextual conditions of countries and regions as population density and economic conditions. During the analysis it is revise the relation between the regional disparities on SGI provision, and the social welfare systems, exploiting the expenditures patterns of each system. This analysis allows us to evaluate possible regional and national dependencies, given the different characteristics of social welfare system of each state.
The social expenditures have particular relevance since the different levels of investment, the composition of expenditure and its evolution over time may be an important explanatory factor of disparities. In addition, and related to the economic and demographic group of factors, it will be also revised the relation of SGI provision with the distribution of population and their purchasing power.

In general, the wealthier countries can afford more generous social security programs for populations and are distinguished for having the best starting conditions for the provision of SGI, however, this relationship does not always translate into practical terms. If in some cases the economic factors reveal strong influence in the SGI provision levels, in other cases, demographic factors or politico-administrative ones, can play a major role.