Volume 23 (2015) / Issue 4
Abstract: This article explores the dynamics of public and private enforcement in the EU energy and telecommunications sectors. Both sectors ask for analyses that take into account the availability of multiple enforcement avenues and the need to coordinate different enforcement levels. Drawing on examples from four EU countries (France, Germany, Italy and United Kingdom), the article describes enforcement mechanisms for network access and consumer disputes. The main conclusion is that the balance between public and private enforcement is largely shaped by the national institutional context. Despite increasing integration of the national energy and telecommunications markets, persisting variation is to be expected on crucial aspects of enforcement mechanisms. Most importantly, the national level affects the interplay between regulatory law and private law, which in turn shapes the content of each type of enforcement mechanism. These developments suggest a new regulatory strategy that acknowledges the sources of national diversity while at the same time increasing the effectiveness of each type of enforcement. Such a strategy should not be pursued through a search for perfect complementarity but through the development of hybrid enforcement mechanisms that minimize the weaknesses on the private and public sides.
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