Services of general interest: empirical evidence from the case studies of SeGI project.

Services of general interest: empirical evidence from the case studies of SeGI project.
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   EUROPA XXI 2013, 23: 105-130 SERVICES OF GENERAL INTEREST: EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FROM CASE STUDIES OF THE SEGI PROJECT 1   DARIUSZ ŚWIĄTEK, TOMASZ KOMORNICKI, PIOTR SIŁKAInstitute of Geography and Spatial OrganizationPolish Academy of Sciencesul. Twarda 51/55, 00-818 Warsaw, ,, Abstract: The paper presents an analysis of an overview of services of general interest in 9 European countries (Austria, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Romania and the UK) which carried out the overview on both national and regional levels. An empirically grounded analysis describes the level of services of general interests in various geographical scales. The methodology used for individual cases to investigate SGI at two levels (national and regional) in nine countries followed a cumulative-circular method with clear phases, intending to show the regional diversity but also ensuring comparability and a crosscut analysis. The Authors conclude their study with a crosscut analysis, focusing on selected features of services of general interests: availability, accessibility, affordability and quality. Key words: services of general interest, case studies, national and regional level, ESPON. 1. INTRODUCTION This paper is the result of an analysis of case studies carried out within the SeGI project, and it aims to provide an empirically grounded analysis of the level of services of general interests in various geo-graphical scales, covering two (transnational/national, regional/local) of the three-levels (European, transnational/national, regional/local) commonly used in the ESPON applied research projects. The realisation of case-studies in nine countries has revealed the territorial distribution and situation of services of general interest (SGI) in certain European regions. The paper analyses, in a multi-scalar form, the potential and the constraints of territorial development regarding SGI within different types of territories, including rural, urban, peri-urban, mountainous, island, coastal and outermost regions (cf. Table 1) vis-à-vis their national contexts and SGI situation at the national level. This paper summarises the results of the nine researches conducted for the case study exercise,  providing an overview of the situation of SGI, both on national and regional levels, and concluding with a crosscut analysis focusing on selected features: availability, accessibility, affordability and 1  This paper is part of the applied research project  Indicators and Perspectives for Services of General Interest in Territorial Cohesion and Development   (SeGI), led by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden. It has been financed by the ESPON 2013 Programme and this financial support is gratefully acknowledged. Texts, maps and conclusions stemming from research  projects under the ESPON programme presented in this report do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the ESPON Monitoring Committee. © ESPON, 2013. EUROPEAN UNION Part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund INVESTING IN YOUR FUTURE ESP N  106  Dariusz Świątek, Tomasz Komornicki, Piotr Siłka quality of SGI. The detailed description of SGI in the studied countries and regions can be found in the case-studies reports of the project. Figure 1. Case study areas   SERVICES OF GENERAL INTEREST: EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FROM CASE STUDIES OF THE SEGI PROJECT 107Tab1e 1. Project case-studies CountryRegionTerritorial Aspects of the Region* 1AustriaEastern AustriaBorder, Mountainous, Urban/Rural 2GermanyRuhrgebietUrban, Metropolitan3HungaryDél-AlföldRural, Border 4IcelandNortheastIsland, Coastal, Remote, Rural, Sparsely5NorwayFinnmarkRemote, Border, Sparsely, Mountainous, Coastal6PolandMazowszeUrban/Rural, Metropolitan, Intermediate7RomaniaNortheastBorder, Rural, Intermediate8 SpainNavarreMountainous, Metropolitan, Border, Coastal, Intermediate9U.K.South GloucestershireCoastal, Intermediate * Types of regions according to the ESPON Typology Compilation (on NUTS 3 level). The analyses of services, both at the national and regional levels, followed a division services into two types: “services of general economic interest”, which include: energy supply, water supply, communication infrastructures, transport infrastructure, sewage facilities, and similar services; and “social services of general interest”, which include: schools and other educational facilities, health care institutions, care services, and so forth. 2. METHODOLOGY The methodology applied in individual cases for investigating SGI at two levels (national and regional) in nine countries consisted in a cumulative-circular method with clear phases, intending to show the regional diversity, but also ensuring comparability and a crosscut analysis. Each phase had a research objective and was guided to guarantee the maximum possible standardisation and comparability, without hindering the creative forms of showing the specificities of each country and region. The research phases were the following:1. National data collection and contextualisation: analysis of the national welfare context and governance of SGI in the nine studied countries.2. National analyses. Analysis and organisation of research findings with an overview of all the chosen services (initially grouped in four categories, later divided in SEGI and SSGI).3. Regional empirical research: regional description, contextualisation, data collection, ques-tionnaire survey and in-depth interviews (with experts/stakeholders in the regions).4. Regional analysis: joint assessment of data collected in the regions.5. Crosscut analysis and conclusions.Five (policy and research) questions established in the SeGI project proposal guided the work. These questions were: What is the territorial distribution of the services of general interest throughout the European territory and how can this be measured? How and to what extent do the various levels of services of general interest contribute to the global competitiveness, economic development and  job growth of cities, urban agglomerations and other territories? What are good indicators to measure the level of services of general interest? What is the current territorial situation of services of general interest throughout the European territory? What territorial development potential and constraints do different types of territories in Europe have?  108  Dariusz Świątek, Tomasz Komornicki, Piotr Siłka More information concerning the definition of SGI and indicators can be found in articles by Marques da Costa et al. (2012) and Breuer and Milbert (2012) which are presented in this volume. The use of structuring features was imperative to draw robust conclusions from very diverse regions, and using distinct and extensive research procedures in each case study. In this sense, the case studies have aimed at analysing the spatial distribution of services of general interest in selected countries, as well as their impact on the development conditions in territories of diverse kind that have  been examined. This has allowed the authors to perform a multi-faceted analysis of SGIs in Europe, taking fully into consideration the variety of its territory. 3. SGI IN THE STUDIED COUNTRIES (NATIONAL LEVEL OF ANALYSIS) 3.1. SERVICES OF GENERAL ECONOMIC INTEREST (SGEI) AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL 3.1.1. Traditional infrastructure services (gas, water, waste and sewage, electricity and transport) In Austria , gas is under the responsibility of the national level, and therefore regulated in national law. Formerly a state monopoly, since 2002 this economic sector has been liberalised in compli-ance with the EU directives. Waste management is a duty of the local level, based on national and on Bundesländer laws. In practice, municipalities often co-operate in this matter. Public-private  partnerships are common organisation structures, meaning that mostly private companies take care of waste management, based on contracts with the municipalities. 13% of Austrian households are not connected to public water pipelines but get their water from private springs or fountains. In Austria, public transport is another liberalised service of general interest. While local trans- port systems are mostly run by public-private partnerships between municipalities and private bus and tram companies, the rail transport at national level is characterised by a quasi-public market. However, it is in the process of change. The Austrian Federal Railways (OBB) are officially private companies (separated into several corporations, e.g., for transport of people and goods, and for rail-infrastructure) which, however, are supported by the state. Germany  is poor in natural resources and it is dependent on imports. In 2007, 85% of gas demand in Germany was fulfilled by import, mainly from Russia (37%), Norway (28%), and the  Netherlands (20%) - exclusively by pipelines. Natural gas has a demand for primary energy by 23% and comes second in German energy mix, after mineral oil. In the sector of private households, gas has the share of 40% and is the most important energy source on the heat market. Almost half of houses/apartments in Germany are provided with gas, especially in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Historically, the municipalities are the operator for water as well as for sewage. The  public water supply network extends to 500,000 kilometres, and nearly 99% of the population have access to it. Institutionally, the sewage disposal is separated from water supply, and the number of  private providers is marginal. 96% of German population is connected to a public sewerage system. Germany’s waste volume totals about 380 million tonnes per year. Building and demolition material account for the majority of this volume (60%). The energy market in Germany was liberalised in 1998. There are 1,100 companies operating in power generation, carrier, distribution, trade and marketing. In 2007, the industry employed 122,000 persons. The German power generation is build upon three  pillars: brown coal (24%), black coal (22%), and nuclear power (22%). The share of natural gas is 12% (2007). 27 million people in Germany use various types of public transport (subway, bus) every day, thus saving 19 million car drives per day. The federal government supports the development and   SERVICES OF GENERAL INTEREST: EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FROM CASE STUDIES OF THE SEGI PROJECT 109 maintenance of this sector with 8.5 billion € per year. Only a few federal states define the provision of  public transport legally as a duty, in the majority of cases public transport is an optional business. Amongst the EU Member States, Hungary  has one of the highest shares of natural gas in its energy mix (around 40%), and the majority of Hungarian households use gas for heating. Hungary imports around 80% of its natural gas consumption from Russia. All non-household customers represent approximately 67% of total demand. Households and electricity generators account for approximately 33% and 25% of gas consumption, respectively. In Hungary, as a result of decentralisation, the water sector became fragmented: 377 water companies operated in 2001 of which five regional companies were still state-owned. The sizes of the water companies vary significantly, which is represented by the fact that 92 companies provided 96% of total water supply in 1998. The gap between the level of drinking water and the sewage service in Hungary is one of the greatest within OECD countries.  New investments in wastewater are necessary.Hungary has a dense transport network, with transport providing 7-9% of the Hungarian GDP. The financing of public transport, however, is often described as a ‘bottomless well’. Since 2011,  public transport services have been scattered across a number of companies: MÁV (Hungarian State Railways), Volán (bus), BKV (Transport Company of Budapest), and BKK (Budapest Transport Centre). Their operation, which has been basically uneconomical, is weighed further down by enor-mous burdens and incurred losses resulting in the negative impact on public debt.Gas is not used for heating in Iceland.  Instead, geothermal water is used to heat around 95% of buildings. Hot water is distributed through district heating systems. In most cases, these heating systems are owned and operated by municipalities or by companies owned by municipalities. In some  parts of Iceland, located far from the main geothermal fields, electricity or oil is used for heating. Electrical heating and of course oil is more expensive than geothermal heating, thus it is subsidised by the government. Water for homes is usually paid for as a water tax at a flat rate, based on the market value of house or apartment. Since 2005, the production and distribution of electricity have been separated in Iceland. Despite of the fact that Iceland is an island, nearly all domestic transport of goods has been carried out by trucks since 2004. Five ferries for transporting goods and people are operated in Iceland, connecting islands to the mainland. This service is organised by the Roads Administration, but it is operated by  private companies and subsidised by the state.Gas is not used extensively by households (and businesses) in Norway , since most appliances use electricity and electricity is produced by hydro power. Therefore, no infrastructure network for gas exists. However, Norway produces gas, most of which is exported to Europe via pipelines and tank ships. The Norwegian water supply is mainly surface water, which is used for drinking (and other uses). The water quality is good in general. Water is supplied by the municipalities, which are also responsible for the pipelines. The costs of infrastructure are covered by the municipalities, supported  by user fees (the so called “water tax”). Individual user fees generally do not depend on the quantity consumed. Electricity in Norway is mainly based on hydro power. This implies that there are large networks of high voltage electricity lines in Norway, used for transporting the power from the place of produc-tion (the mountains) to the place of consumption (where people live and work). Large networks are operated by the government. In addition, there are local networks, supplying energy to consumers in a given area. These local networks are owned by municipalities, but some of them have been privatised. The municipalities are responsible for waste (collecting, transporting and disposing of). However, waste collection and transport have been privatised in many municipalities. In some cases, user fees


Apr 28, 2018


Apr 28, 2018
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