services of general interest/services of general economic interest

These new EU-official terms are intended to replace the GATS-ambiguous terms used by Americans and Britons (in the EU) and clearly explain the definition of what services are supposed to be commercial (including most of what used to be called public services) and what are the government itself and its functional elements.

This term is also basically defined by the scope of what is defined as "services" in the beginning of GATS.

Also it has been abbreviated as "SGEI" in Europe. 

I received a Tweet some time ago, one of the last I received on Twitter, which shows an interesting fact,  the UK government perhaps wanted its public to remain confused about which is which?

The explanation of the scope of the GATS' important  government authority exclusion is done in both Article 1: 3 of the GATS,

and in the beginning of the GATS Annex on Financial Service as follows:

Annex on financial services
1. Scope and Definition
(a) This Annex applies to measures affecting the supply of financial services. Reference to the supply of a financial service in this Annex shall mean the supply of a service as defined in paragraph 2 of Article I of the Agreement.

(b) For the purposes of subparagraph 3(b) of Article I of the Agreement, “services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority” means the following:

(i) activities conducted by a central bank or monetary authority or by any other public entity in pursuit of monetary or exchange rate policies;

(ii) activities forming part of a statutory system of social security or public retirement plans; and

(iii) other activities conducted by a public entity for the account or with the guarantee or using the financial resources of the Government.

(c) For the purposes of subparagraph 3(b) of Article I of the Agreement, if a Member allows any of the activities referred to in subparagraphs (b) (ii) or (b) (iii) of this paragraph to be conducted by its financial service suppliers in competition with a public entity or a financial service supplier, “services” shall include such activities.

(d) Subparagraph 3(c) of Article I of the Agreement shall not apply to services covered by this Annex.

Use the feedback form to email me. This term is a EU creation that shows the impact of GATS, especially on language.

(and also of the European Commission's GATS-conforming law - the so called Services Directive

Services of general interest

(portion of which is copied below here)

Definition of services of general interest
Services of general interest are services that public authorities of the EU member countries classify as being of general interest and, therefore, subject to specific public service obligations. They can be provided either by the state or by the private sector.

Examples of services of general interest include: public transport, postal services, and healthcare.

There are three categories of services of general interest: economic, non-economic and social.

Services of general economic interest, which are basic services that are carried out in return for payment, such as postal services. These services are subject to European internal market and competition rules. However, there may be derogations to these rules if necessary to protect citizens' access to basic services. (See this SSRN article for an explanation and the term's history)

Non-economic services, such as the police, justice and statutory social security schemes, are not subject to specific European legislation or to internal market and competition rules.
Social services of general interest are those that respond to the needs of vulnerable citizens, and are based on the principles of solidarity and equal access. They can be both of an economic or non-economic nature. Examples include social security schemes, employment services and social housing.

Its very important to determining their status that they be provided free or at a reduced cost to the poor.  And not on a commercial basis, also in the absence of competition.

What is a Service Supplied in the.png
EU action
In 2011, the EU adopted the Quality Framework for Services of General Interest (SGI) in the EU. The SGI
clarifies how EU rules apply to basic services, as well as the revisions that have been made to these rules, where necessary, to ensure specific needs are addressed ensures access to essential services for all citizens
promotes quality in the field of social services and highlights achievements as models for other basic services

As a follow up, European public procurement rules were also modernised, and new legislation was introduced that clarifies the application of state aid rules to the services of general economic interest.