Regulation and Infrastructure Management: German Regulatory Regimes and the Eu Framework

By Eberlein, Burkard; Grande, Edgar | German Policy Studies, January 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Regulation and Infrastructure Management: German Regulatory Regimes and the Eu Framework

Eberlein, Burkard, Grande, Edgar, German Policy Studies

Abstract (1)

In the aftermath of large-scale privatization and liberalization of infrastructure management in Europe, new regulatory institutions and ways of managing network industries such as telecommunications, electricity, and railways have been established. This paper challenges the prominent assumption that, following EU-driven liberalization, regulatory powers simply move from the national to the European level. The paper looks at the German case of transition to a 'regulatory state' in infrastructure management. Assessing the differential impact of Europeanization, it analyses the new institutional set-up of German regulation, and the tasks and problems faced by regulators across three sectors. The German case study indicates that a variety of sectoral (and national) regulatory regimes persist in the context of an EU regulatory framework in statu nascendi. A closer look at the institutional architecture of the EU framework reveals that European and national regulation interact in a complex and dynamic multi-level set-up, reflecting the specific characteristics of the European integration dynamic and of EU multi-level governance. The paper concludes by suggesting some tentative hypotheses on the shape of the European regulatory regime for infrastructure management.

I. Introduction: Europe in the Age of Privatization and Liberalization

Looking back on the recent transformations of the political economy of advanced industrial countries, the privatization of public enterprises and the liberalization of markets rank among the most important changes. The wave of privatization and liberalization has seized almost every European country, and it has cut deep into new areas hitherto sheltered from competition (Vickers and Wright, 1989; Wright, 1994; Lane, 1997). One of the most remarkable examples is the field of infrastructures and utilities, which, traditionally, were state-owned, state-run or at least exempted from market competition.

Infrastructures and utilities belong to those sectors for which the state traditionally took particular responsibility (staatsnahe Sektoren, see Mayntz and Scharpf, 1995). In a historical perspective, this responsibility has taken one of two forms: Either the state has acted as a direct provider or 'producer' of infrastructure services (e.g. public ownership), or public authorities have supervised and controlled - that is, regulated - the private provision of services. The former solution, which - according to Seidman and Oilmour (1986) - can be labeled the "positive state" (Leistungsstaat), has been the dominant form of infrastructure management in Europe. The latter solution, i.e. the "regulatory state", is typically found in the US (see Grande, 1993 and 1997; Majone, 1994 and 1997; Schuppert, 1997).

The privatization and liberalization movement in Europe has changed this traditional picture. The entire infrastructure sector has undergone rapid and radical changes, leading to the decline of the positive state. The general reasons for market-oriented reforms in infrastructure management are, by now, well known. The most important have been: the economic and fiscal crisis, which forced governments to deny financial assistance to ailing and inefficient state enterprises; the hegemony of neo-liberal policy frames, which favor market-based solutions; dynamic technological developments, which made market-reforms feasible; and, last but not least, the intensification of international competition, which exercised pressure on state monopolies (see Henig, Hemnett and Feigenbaum, 1988; Vickers and Wright, 1989; Hancher and Moran, 1989; Clarke and Pitelis, 1993; Wright, 1994).

In studies on European integration and European multi-level governance, the process of privatization and liberalization has been regarded as being affected by the recent 'Europeanization' of policies in two respects. On the one hand, the liberalization of markets has been interpreted as a direct result of the dynamics of European market integration, which called for an opening of nationally insulated markets.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Regulation and Infrastructure Management: German Regulatory Regimes and the Eu Framework


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?