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Governing Telecommunications and the New Information Society in Europe

Edited by Jacint Jordana

European countries have recently been involved in an extremely broad set of regulatory changes to introduce competitive markets into the area of telecommunications. New policies to develop the information society in Europe are also emerging, taking into account the changes in regulations. The contributions included in this book examine several dimensions of these major European issues, including multi-level governance, the instruments used to produce these policy changes, and the European idiosyncrasies of globalisation trends.
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Chapter 5: The Persistence of Telecommunications Policies in National States: Portugal and Spain in the European Arena

Jacint Jordana


3802_GovernTelecom/Chap 5 22/8/02 8:55 am Page 1 5. The persistence of telecommunications policies in national States: Portugal and Spain in the European arena Jacint Jordana THE ROLE OF NATIONAL POLICIES IN THE EUROPEAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS SECTOR The objective of this chapter is to provide an overview of the State’s changing role in regulation of the telecommunications sector in Spain and Portugal during the 1990s. Analysing these two cases, we will attempt to determine to what extent EC (European Community) policies influenced telecommunications policy choices at the State level during those years. We will argue that national governments continued to play an important role in the sector while trans-national agreements gradually took effect. They maintained their capacity to shape markets, albeit within the new context of European interdependence.1 European States faced with the pressure of operators and producers in favour of market liberalisation and constrained by EC time scales and uniform regulations, maintained control over several key aspects of the new markets. Often, they took up the challenge and used it as a window of opportunity for pushing through domestic institutional changes. By taking a strategic view of the liberalisation process, they established priorities in shaping the development of the main actors in their emerging markets. Countries took advantage of European institutions and their decision-making processes to eliminate several key domestic opponents to change (Schmidt 1998; Thatcher 1999). For this reason, the Member States, not the EC, created specific asymmetric regulations to achieve the kind of competition they thought was...

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