The Reform of Network Industries
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The Reform of Network Industries

Evaluating Privatisation, Regulation and Liberalisation in the EU

Edited by Massimo Florio

Network industries such as electricity, gas, rail, local public transport, telecommunications and postal services are recognised by the EU as crucial for fostering European social and territorial cohesion. Providing an overview of key policy reforms in these industries and an empirical evaluation, this thought-provoking book offers a critical perspective on the functioning of the networks that provide vital services to EU citizens.
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Chapter 11: The European gas sector: political-economy implications of the transition from state-owned to mixed-owned enterprises

Roberto Cardinale

Abstract

This chapter analyses how the transition from state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to mixed-owned enterprises (MOEs) in the European gas sector affected the European states’ ability to pursue public policy objectives. More specifically, the analysis focuses on the extent to which public and private interests can be reconciled within MOEs’ strategy. The chapter suggests that the rise of profitability as the central objective for MOEs has prevented states from pursuing some, though not all, of the policy objectives that they could pursue before the transition. For example, states can no longer pursue large-scale plans of economic and technological development through MOEs, or ensure consumers’ price affordability irrespective of market fluctuations. However, states may still be able to positively contribute to energy security thanks to the major shares held in MOEs, for instance by vetoing divestment from import infrastructure. The analysis suggests the need for states to devise alternative ways to pursue their objectives in the framework of national and European energy policy.

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