The P/S/R Union was initiated by the P/S/R Institute and the Center of Competence Public Services, Infrastructure and General Public Interest, University of Leipzig. It is a European networking platform, which promotes a vivid dialogue between stakeholders in the field of services of general (economic) interest.


Dr. Sylvia Freygner, LL.M. Dr. Sylvia Freygner, LL.M.
Non-university Institute for Public Social Responsibility Charitable Trust
Head of Institute

“The European Commission views services of general (economic) interest as a key component of the European social model. Yet, they are much more and their significance does not stop at the European borders. It has been one of the unquestionable achievements of the 19th century that the state needs to meet the fundamental needs of its citizens. Today, it is enshrined in our democratic way of thinking that people need to be granted access to a livelihood and basic services. As a consequence, public services are a cornerstone of democracy, social cohesion, solidarity and social peace. At any rate, the state needs to ensure (and monitor) that these services be provided at an adequate quality and for all. Within the European community, it would be insufficient if one state attempted to assume this responsibility, alone. It can be deducted from this line of reasoning that not only Europe’s economic success depends on a strong Internal Market, but so does its social one. Therefore, we cannot let there be a gap between the EU member states, particularly when it comes to the quality of fundamental services: When companies start to compete over services of general (economic) interest, competition needs to take place in a level playing field which emphasizes social strength and quality. The P/S/R Union is an excellent idea to bring all stakeholders together and have them conceive the future of public services in Europe.”


O. Rottmann Dr. rer. pol. Oliver Rottmann
Center of Competence Public Services, Infrastructure and General Public Interest, University of Leipzig

“The European Union embraces economic and social progress. In the whole of Europe, infrastructures, have been built, maintained and used for public services by the public sector. When private companies take over these tasks, public authorities need to make sure that public service obligations are met. This approach, which is an inherent aspect in the European way of thinking, describes a paradigm change and transformation from a model, where the state provides these services, to one, where the state assumes the responsibility that they are being provided. Yet, these services of general (economic) interest – as they are called today – will continue to be subject to demographic change, amendments of European and national legislation, technological and financial opportunities and restraints etc. This will challenge a universal supply, financing and service portfolios.
The P/S/R Union, as a European network of excellence, has taken up the challenge to find solutions to current and future problems, such as universal supply, financing and service portfolios. It uses scientific methods and works in an independent and target-oriented way. Furthermore, it helps Europe, the member states, and public and private companies working in the field of services of general (economic ) interest and their associations to rise to the upcoming challenges and meet them in a competent, interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral and sustainable way.”