Co-creation of services of general interest as a contribution to a more participative democracy in the EU

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Key points:

The EESC:

  • Believes that the co-creation of services of general interest (SGIs) by civil society organisations and directly by citizens is one of the most effective tools for stimulating participative democracy, and thus for bolstering European integration.
  • Emphasizes the importance to improve the framework conditions in the EU in this area, in order to further enhance the protection of citizens' rights and benefits.
  • Supports targeted implementation of the co-creation approach: SGIs should be developed jointly with users, communities and civil society organisations to ensure firstly that they meet people's real needs and secondly that they enable democratic participation.
  • Invites the Member States to develop and/or improve tools to ensure that the public and civil society organisations are involved throughout the process of providing services of general interest.
  • Points out that the high-quality provision of services of general interest in the interests of the public and the economy is dependent on, and must be provided with, adequate resources, i.e. funding and staffing.
  • Underlines that although the framework conditions for the provision, and thus the co-creation, of SGIs are primarily the responsibility of the Member States, regions and municipalities, there is also an urgent need to encourage the Member States to develop co-design concepts by creating a toolkit that facilitates the use of co-creation models.
  • Invites the Member States to implement Article 77 of Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement reserving contracts for certain health, social and cultural, as well as educational, services, as listed in that article, to not-for-profit organisations.
  • Proposes that the Commission publish a working document on this subject as a basis for further work, aiming at the creation of a "toolkit", which should encourage and guide national, regional and local authorities towards enhanced use of co-creation models.
  • This document should, among other things, consider co-creation in light of Article 14 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Protocol 26 to the TEU and the TFEU, taking account of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the specific role of the non-profit social economy in co-creation and the framework conditions necessary to that end.
  • Suggests setting up a forum to exchange ideas and best practices in this field, involving civil society organisations, the social partners, universities and research projects, in order to maintain and develop the discussion process at European level.