Services of general economic interest (SGEI) are services the state wants to provide for the general public which are not adequately supplied by market forces alone.

Public authorities should note that the information on this page is only applicable when the aid being provided is within the scope of Article 10 of the Windsor Framework. If you are providing support to service sector companies please refer to the information on the State aid and Subsidy control after EU Exit webpage.

SGEIs are carried out in the public interest under conditions defined by the State, which imposes what is called a public service obligation (PSO) on the provider. Since SGEI provision may not generate a sufficient profit for the provider, an appropriate level of public compensation may be required to offset the additional costs stemming from the PSO.

Examples of SGEIs include:

  • transport networks
  • postal services
  • social services. 

The SGEI package

The European Commission has published the SGEI package to tell aid providers about the State aid rules on SGEIs. This is made up of the SGEI Framework, SGEI Decision and SGEI De Minimis Regulation, which are the three ways in which SGEI aid can be provided. 

SGEI Framework

The SGEI Framework sets out the conditions that need to be met to be sure that State aid in the form of public service compensation can be allowed. To use the SGEI Framework, you need to formally tell the European Commission what you want to do, and wait for their decision.

SGEI Decision

The SGEI Decision exempts member states from the obligation to notify public service compensation for certain SGEI categories to the Commission. Aid given under the SGEI Decision must be supported by an act of entrustment, which is usually for a period not exceeding 10 years unless a longer period can be justified. 

SGEI de minimis regulation

The European Commission says that SGEI aid amounts of below €500,000 over a three year period (that is, the current and last 2 financial years) are too small to affect competition and do not need to be regarded as State aid. Such aid may fall within the scope of the SGEI De Minimis Regulation.

Contact the DfE Subsidy Control Advice Unit

If you work for a public authority, and would like to find out more about the SGEI rules, you should contact the DfE Subsidy Control Advice Unit

Further information

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