Dossier: «Realities and challenges of the European Union»ISSUE 3 (MAY 2015)

The political economy of network industries in the European Union


In the last three decades, network industries have experienced major changes the world over. It can be presumed that they will continue to do so, driven by technological and economic changes and also by the campaigns of interest groups framed by institutional and ideological parameters. In the European Union these changes have seen a growing degree of involvement at the community level, without reaching the point of creating European networks. Paradoxically, this could be beneficial for the resolution of certain dilemmas that arise in an electricity sector where a European demos is not well established, a factor that is problematic in other aspects. A consolidated European demos would require a consolidated European political arena, European public with European political parties and lobbyists working at a European level, and so on. The reason this lack of development of a European demos may be favourable to sectors such as electricity or communications is that it can stop public interventions in these sectors from being made into political issues. Although the European Union has already played an important role in increasing competition in these sectors, it may play a much more important role in a future that advances towards a market that is truly integrated, in which networks of a real European scope exist.

telecommunications;  electricity;  European Union;  political economy; 
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