Globalisation and EU policy-making. The neo-liberal transformation of telecommunications and electricity

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Publication Date 2005
ISBN 0-7190-6642-5
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This work looks at the liberalised European single market and the national monopolies from which it has been formed, and seeks to explain the roles that technological, economic and political forces have played in that transformation.

The work is organised in three main parts spread over nine chapters. Part one presents the theoretical framework for the study. Following an introduction, the second chapter shows the foundation from which the relationship between globalisation and technological change and EU policy-making is examined.

Part two questions the theory that globalisation and technological change have been the primary determinants of policy change. Chapter three contrasts the techno-economic profile of the telecommunications sector with that of the electricity sector. This contrasting theme is continued in chapter four, which traces the change from national monopoly and international cooperation to national and international competition - again showing the electricity sector lagging behind. The influence of globalisation and the IT revolution on the supranational political process are the focus of chapter five. The impact of globalisation and technological change upon national interests in the EU policy process are explored in chapter six, with specific attention being given to the national preferences in France and Germany.

Part three explores the importance of techno-economic processes through an examination of the possible endogenous sources of policy change. Chapter seven looks at the independent impact which institutions might have had upon policy-making and shows that the Commission, through its exploitation of its institutional resources, has had a major impact on the policy process. Neo-liberalism as a belief system is examined in chapter eight, which asserts that it is this aspect of neo-liberalism that has been the main driver of the Commission’s single market project. Chapter nine presents the conclusions of the study and questions whether or not the primacy of globalisation and technological change are the sole factors to be weighed, going on to consider briefly what application the conclusions might have in four other sectors - financial services, air transport, rail and water.

The book will interest scholars and students of globalisation, European integration and policy-making and utilities policy and regulation.

Ian Bartle is a Researcher in the School of Management at the University of Bath.

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