The Europeanization of Economic Interests
This project examines the effects of European Community policies on the representation of economic interests in the EC. In the last years, the European integration process has been both deepened and accelerated through institutional changes and growth in EC competencies engendered through passage of the Single European Act (1986), moves toward greater economic and currency union, and the internal market program. In the eyes of many observers, the relevance of the European Community for the fashioning of European politics has substantively increased. These developments have been accompanied by changes in the representation of economic and social interests, as well as their increasing orientation toward the European Community. This project tests the thesis that such new orientations are fundamentally shaped by national institutions and by sectoral economic conditions. The effects of European Community policy on the organization of economic interests will be compared by examining information technology and electricity supply in Great Britain and Germany. The selection of these two branches and countries allows for a controlled variation of variables. Information technology is a more market-guided, and to a high degree, internationalized sector, and it is dominated by a few very large businesses. Information technology is also the subject of a variety of EC policies. By contrast, the electricity market is characterized by a high degree of state regulation, thus far primarily national in its market orientation. The structure of enterprises in this sector ranges from public to mixed public/private to wholly private. A few large enterprises which operate internationally stand alongside small and midsize businesses with regionally or even local orientations. To a great degree, energy producers are affected by efforts on the part of the EC Commission to liberalize this sector and introduce a common energy policy. Finally, Germany and Great Britain differ in the relationship between state and market actors.