Evaluating Privatisation, Regulation and Liberalisation in the EU
Edited by Massimo Florio
Chapter 11: The European gas sector: political-economy implications of the transition from state-owned to mixed-owned enterprises
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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