Following the European Council of Laeken (December 2001), the European Commission published last June a methodology for the assessment of services of general interest at the Community level.
This move is linked to the Cardiff process of monitoring of the performance of the internal European market.
It is indeed essential that services of general interest perform well if the European Union is to achieve the objectives of sustainable growth, employment and cohesion set in the European Treaties.
The evaluation, which shall start in 2003, will look at how competition has evolved in these sectors, what has been the impact of market-opening, and how these changes have been perceived by users.
To this end, the Commission will regularly produce indicators measuring consumers’ satisfaction regarding the provision of services of general interest.
These indicators will take into account price affordability, quality, accessibility, market transparency, registered consumer complaints, contractual relations with providers and regional dimensions of service provision among other issues.
Local and regional public transport will be part of this evaluation, which will look at bus, light rail/metro, and railway services in a segmented way.