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SERVICE PUBLIC
 
Séminaire théorique "Service public et mondialisation"


March 11th, 2000
Synthesis of the work of the seminar Services of General Interest and Globalisation

Europe, the future of Public Services?
Public Services, the future of Europe?

Is Europe a market or space without borders, or also a space for solidarity, public service and democracy? if so, how do we construct this space?

Contents :

Welcome message from Renaud Fabre, University Chairman

1. An historical perspective on European collective services

2. A critique of neo-liberal theories

3. Public service realities

4. Democracy and social links

5. Conclusions

Renaud Fabre, Paris 8 University Chairman -  Welcome to you all. Today we will summarise work carried out over the last two years. Ten conference sessions have taken place on this topic, each gathering 25 persons on average. SIGEM represents the partnership of two Paris VIII laboratories the CEPM with François Fourquet and Alain de Tolédo and the ERGO with Pierre Barge, together with representatives of civil society gathered together under the umbrella of the Réseaux Services Publics (Public Services Networks), a member at European level of European Liaison Committee on Services of General Interest (CELSIG.) 

Faced with the great neo-liberal wave of deregulation and privatisation, the general theme of today's works is of the utmost importance. Public services have to be overhauled first or they cannot be defended. The European project gives people with very diverse points of view within the European Union the possibility to exchange and confront opinions. The presence of our European guests is of the utmost importance here: André Mordant from Belgium, Simona Pasca-Raymondo from Italy and Robin Simpson from Great Britain. The conference will use an unusual approach: it will confront practice in the field by sector specialists with the theoretical contribution of university researchers on topics such as collective services, externality, the critical examination of Hayek's theories on globalisation. Robert Reich comes to mind here with his demonstration of the dichotomy between the development of public services at national levels and their current development at ever more international levels. There is a gap between the scope of public policy and  the expansion of economic activity. The interaction between those working in the field and university researchers will take place in the light of a long term historical perspective. Two essential notions will be present through these discussions: the position of users in the context of the democratic regulation of public services, and the European territory which is being built through common policies and which is the prelude to a European civil society.

I would like to conclude by stressing the importance of our work at this moment, when the French presidency expires in July. I wish you all the best for today.

CEMP and ERGO are research centres of the Economics and Management Department of the Université de Paris VIII; together with the "public service group", formed from a network of associations for which the AITEC (International Association of Technicians, Experts and Researchers) and Public Service Network provide the secretariat; they have set up an investigation of the situation of public services within the framework of  European construction and more generally on ways to promote true public services in the face of the neo-liberal wave of deregulation and privatisation of key sectors pertaining to  social cohesion. 

Between 1998 and 1999, the seminar gathered every two months university researchers  and experts from different fields who exchanged views on the following topics
- Le néo-libéralisme et son impasse, (Neo-liberalism and its limits), PIERRE BAUBY
- La légende libérale ou : une généalogie du capitalisme (The legend of liberalism - a genealogy of capitalism), François FOURQUET,
- Les théories libérales de l'économie publique (The liberal theories of public economy), Pierre BARGE and Alain de TOLEDO,
- Transports:déréglementation et reréglementation (Transport: regulation and deregulation), Jean Claude BOUAL,
-  Points de repère sur le modèle EDF, (Reference points using the EDF model), Pierre Bauby, J-F F
-  Hayek: libéralisme, État et secteur public (Hayek: liberalism, the State and the public sector), Gilles DOSTALER
-  Système électrique et intérêt général (Electricity network and the general interest), Pierre Bauby, J-F F
-  Libéraux et comunautariens nord-américains et rôle de l'État (North-American liberals, and communitarians and the role of the State), Sandra SEBAG, Philippe BRACHET
-  Management et concertation avec l'usager-citoyen des SP: l'exemple d'EDF (Management and actions in concert with public service users: the EDF example), Philippe Brachet, Paul ÉMAER,
- La place des usagers à la Poste (Customers and the Post Office), Madeleine STEFANI,
- Valeur du Service collectif européen (The value of European collective services), François FOURQUET.


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