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

  • Marie-Christine Fontana

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).


European Union Trade Union Electricity Market International Energy Agency Electricity Sector 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Control Committee of Electricity and Gas, Belgium


Confédération des Syndicats Chrétiens (Christian Democratic Trade Union, Belgium)


Fédération des Entreprises Belges (Federation of Belgian Firms)


Federation of Belgian Large Industrial Energy Consumers


Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique (Socialist trade union, Belgium)


International Energy Agency


Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development


Swiss Federal Office for Energy


Schweizerischer Gewerkschaftsbund (Association of the Swiss trade unions, without the Christian trade unions)


Société Productrice d’Electricité, Belgium


Transmission system operator (operator of the high-voltage network)


Union for the Co-ordination of the Production and Transmission of Electricity


Union des Centrales Suisses d’électricité (Union of Swiss Electricity Companies)


Union for the Co-ordination of Transmission of Electricity


Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confiderations of Europe


International Union of Producers and Distributors of Electrical Energy


Verband des Personals Öffentlicher Dienste (Trade Union of Public Services, Switzerland)



This research is based on the project ‘The impact of internationalization on Swiss policy processes in comparative perspective’, NCCR Democracy. It is funded by Swiss National Science Foundation. I would like to thank Ronald Holzhacker, László Bruszt, and the participants of the European Research Colloquium on the Transnationalization of Economies, States, and Civil Societies: New Challenges for Governance in Europe, as well as Yannis Papadopoulos and André Mach for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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