Date: 09 Jul 2009

Transnationalization and Domestic Policy-Making Processes: Electricity Market Reform in Belgium and Switzerland

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The electricity sector has undergone and continues to experience a fundamental transformation. Liberalization, deregulation and re-regulation have spread around the world, which has led to a fundamental restructuring of the sector. In Europe, this trend has been reinforced by a European Union (EU) directive adopted in 1996. This directive alone, however, cannot sufficiently explain how and why most countries, some of them not members of the EU, decided to liberalize their electricity sectors. First, the directive gave large leeway to the member states about how to implement liberalization, and second, the phenomenon is an almost global trend, not limited just to Europe. Therefore, Europeanization as an explanation for the electricity market’s liberalization has been criticized for overemphasizing the impact of the EU (Fligstein and Merand 2001; Jordana et al. 2006; Levi-Faur 2004; Verdier and Breen 2001).