Public-private partnerships and sustainable development in the European Union. Another reason to foster the promotion of PPPs as viable alternatives in the delivery of public services and infrastructures
PhD student: Mrs A. Aschieri
Promotors: Mrs Prof H.E.G.S. Schneider, Mrs Dr S.L.T. Schoenmaekers, R. Caranta
Duration: 1/1/2014 - 30/9/2017
PhD defence: Maastricht, 7/2/2018
This thesis discusses the ability of Public-Private Partnerships (hereinafter PPPs) to generate socio-environmental benefits, thus, their capability to promote sustainable development goals throughout Europe. In the undergoing process of boosting growth within the European Union, it is crucial to acknowledge that PPPs could be used as efficient public delivery means of both economic and sustainable gains. Not only the functioning of the Internal Market could be fostered through PPPs, but also other equally important goals of socio-environmental sustainability could be efficiently pursued. This thesis will preliminarily provide an understanding of the PPP phenomenon as a whole, its legal background and implementation in the Member States studied. Then, the relationship between the concept of sustainable development and public procurement will be examined in order to delve into the identification of PPPs potentialities in the generation of socio-environmental benefits. Furthermore, it will be outlined the scope for sustainable development in the European public contracts and concessions law so as to identify the possible spaces for sustainability in PPPs structures. Next, PPPs potential socio-environmental benefits will be investigated. Then, it will be outlined how sustainable development considerations are implemented in the domestic policies and legal regimes of the Member States studied. Thereafter, national representative PPP projects will be identified and case studies will be carried out. Such empirical study will highlight, inter alia, the specific socio-environmental benefits delivered as well as the incentives, inherent to the particular structure of the PPPs studied, which allowed the generation, along with economic gains, of sustainable benefits. Thus, this study will examine the extent to which sustainable development goals were promoted. Lastly, it will be provided a picture of the acknowledgments and achievements of this study along with conclusive remarks. Therefore, this study recognises PPPs as key elements, not only for the functioning of the Internal Market, but also for the promotion of sustainable development goals, such as social justice issues and shared environmental policy purposes. These, may range from climate change concerns and the promotion of energy savings, to alternative energy sources or from energy and resource efficiency, development and environmental sustainability, to high-quality level public services and infrastructures. Overall, this thesis argues that, especially in light of the current European contingencies, socio-environmental benefits represent another important reason why PPPs should be broadly exploited throughout Europe as a viable alternative in the delivery of public services and/or infrastructures.