The utilities sectors in the EC were historically excluded from the scope of both the GATT Codes on Public Procurement and the EC public procurement rules which came into force in the 1970s. Thus it is not surprising that the decision to incorporate these major industrial sectors into the Single Market rules has been politically contentious. The resulting conflict has produced utilities procurement rules which are far less onerous than those for the public sector. In explaining why this is the case, we demonstrate that private utilities firms were able to win policy concessions by employing the mobilization of bias within EC policy-making bodies, as well as by using conventional political lobbying and pressure. However, while private actors were able to mobilize bias to achieve their intended effect at the policy initiation stage, the implementation of the utilities rules has been less than a success. The reason for this is that the two main concessions which the utilities were able to win (a 50 per cent EC content rule and a 3 per cent price preference clause for EC suppliers) are clearly protectionist, and have generated a trade conflict with the US. Thus the EC and the US have begun a process of agreeing to limit the protectionist impact of the utilities rules. We contend that, in so far as this occurs, it highlights two important theoretical insights related to the distinction which can be drawn between the power of initiation in the policy-making process and the power of constraint in the implementation of policy.
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||Journal of European Public Policy|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 1994|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration