Successes and Failures in Regulating and Deregulating Utilities

Successes and Failures in Regulating and Deregulating Utilities

Evidence from the UK, Europe and the USA

Edited by Colin Robinson

This book is the latest annual review of utility regulation and deregulation, published in association with the Institute of Economic Affairs and the London Business School

Chapter 6: Liberalizing utility markets in the European Union

Fritz Bolkestein

Subjects: economics and finance, competition policy, public finance, public sector economics

Extract

Frits Bolkestein THE INTERNAL MARKET At the moment the European Union is a global trading power ensuring a respectable degree of wealth and prosperity for its citizens. By the end of 2002, it will have been a decade since Europeʼs Internal Market without borders was launched. The Internal Market is one of the Unionʼs proudest achievements. Its success is based on a liberal market economy. European integration is the most liberal project for which liberals were never credited. Some people seem to believe that the Internal Market has long been finished and consider it yesterdayʼs issue. Some may take the fruits of the Internal Market for granted, but I am sure that UK citizens whose cars have been seized by British Customs because they had purchased too many goods on the Continent realize that the Internal Market is not finished. Improving its performance is a process, not an event. Ten years after the magical ʻ1992 deadlineʼ there are still holes to be plugged and barriers to be removed, for example in the area of services and taxation. A single and open market (backed up by a strong single currency) provides the essential basis for future economic growth in the Community. Therefore we must be adamant that agreements which underpin the strength of the euro are adhered to. A dilution of commitments will inevitably undermine confidence in the single currency, generate inflation and thus erode the pension claims of the elderly, an ever growing segment of the electorate....

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