Services of General Interest (SGIs) are a supporting pillar of the European social model and of a social market economy.
They include areas such as housing, water and energy supply, waste and sewage disposal, public transport, health, social services, youth and family, culture and communication within society, including broadcasting, internet and telephony.
SGIs help people lead dignified lives and ensure that everyone has the right to access essential goods and services. They ensure justice, social cohesion and social integration and contribute to the equal treatment of all EU citizens.
They form a key aspect of promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion and sustainable development.
SGIs also act as a buffer against the most damaging social and regional effects, as they are based on the aims of guaranteeing universal access to essential goods and services and fundamental rights.
The EESC set up a Permanent Study Group on services of general interest (PSG SGI) tasked with assessing the concerns and promoting the views of European organised civil society in the area of SGIs.
The overarching aim is to help ensure that all Europe's citizens have access to high quality and affordable services of general interest.