Which European Policy?


In the earlier chapters we examined the main profiles and trends for the world gas market. We now will focus our attention on the European context. Over the last decade Europe has seen a significant deregulation and re-regulation process, mainly aimed at creating a competitive internal energy market. In this chapter, we will briefly discuss the rationales, impacts, implications and shortcomings of these energy policies for the Old Continent.

The main goal was to open up the gas market through the gradual introduction of competition. In the Commission’s opinion, liberalisation would increase the efficiency of the energy sector as well as the European economy as a whole. Industries and private households would have the chance to freely choose their preferred gas supplier, at prices which are more cost-reflective and lower than the monopolistic and oligopolistic ones. The gas Directives set out a series of principles and instruments intended to achieve this goal, delegating to the Member States the job of enforcing them through national legislation. This process has taken several years and in some cases is far from completion.

In this chapter, after a brief and non-exhaustive survey of the theoretic rationales behind gas regulation on which the European policy is based, we will discuss the basic principles of the European Directives and assess the degree of implementation and adoption. To conclude we offer a critical analysis of the current legislative framework as a contribution to discussion of possible future European energy policy in this field.


Member State European Policy Natural Monopoly Ownership Unbundling Tariff Regime 
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