In the beginning of 2013 the EU can look back at some 25 years of efforts to develop and deepen a single market for network industries. It is therefore worthwhile taking stock and trying to assess how far this endeavour has proceeded and what benefits and costs may be identified.
The present Study provides a brief survey of the logic and state of the single market in network industries today, reminding readers of the economic and EU rationales underpinning this transformation. A detailed analysis is devoted to two network sectors in which liberalisation is often held to be quite successful (air transport and telecommunication), and to two sectors where the benefit/cost ratios would seem to be more problematic (electricity and rail services).
The authors conclude that the EU has finally become more determined to pursue the single market for network industries. The opening up of network markets has proven to be both complex and adventurous, and the authors show that the path of liberalisation is highly uneven among the different network markets discussed. The ample empirical evidence in this paper demonstrates the EU has come a long way along this path and that, with sustained political, regulatory and anti-trust enforcement, investment, and entrepreneurial efforts, the single market for network industries can be perhaps achieved within a decade from now.
This Study is introduced with a Foreword by Jonathan Faull, Director General for Internal Market and Services at the European Commission and member of Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute board of directors.