Europe must rethink its digital, energy and mobility regulation


As nominees to the next European Commission are preparing for their hearings before the Parliament, the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE) launches a wide-ranging dossier on the regulation of Europe’s energy, digital, media and mobility industries towards 2024.


Renowned academics from around Europe have developed nearly 50 ambitions for the new European Parliament and Commission.

Rising inequality, the growing impact of climate change, and the ever-faster digitalisation have profoundly shaken our lives and societies. The perceived lack of action to address these challenges has undermined belief in the European institutions. In this context, the CERRE academic team provides concrete recommendations for improved regulation of the digital, energy and mobility sectors. Here is a snapshot of some of those 50 ambitions.

A sovereign innovative digital Europe

  • To regain its digital sovereignty, Europe must stimulate the development of its digital start-ups by ensuring equal access to critical digital innovation capabilities such as data, computing power, digital skills and risky capital. Europe should also take measures to stimulate the scale-up of digital platforms in Europe by ensuring that platforms are subject to only one set of rules for the whole single market applied by a European regulator, where services are inherently borderless.
  • To keep up with the worldwide connectivity race and support the development of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, Europe should focus on unlocking investments for both fibre and 5G infrastructures. Its success will be measured against the magnitude of these investments.

A fair, efficient and sustainable Energy Union

  • Policymakers must take full account of the distributional effects of the current and future regulation that will enact the energy and climate transition. This should include the creation of a European Observatory tasked with monitoring those effects in multiple EU markets and recommending mitigation measures.
  • To drive decarbonisation, the European Commission should prioritise expanding the scope of the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) to include more sectors such as transport and agriculture, with at least 85% coverage of all emitting sectors. To accelerate global decarbonisation, Europe should also foresee linking the EU ETS with similar schemes around the world.

A decarbonised dependable mobility for all

  • To reduce the environmental impacts of mobility without curbing the free movement of citizens or goods, EU policies should focus on achieving greater modal shift by making use of market-based incentives and pricing as well as by focusing on technological change to lower vehicle emissions. The EU should develop mobility policies that fairly and efficiently internalise external costs, such as pollution.

“In tune with today’s reality, smarter regulation should be the hallmark of a European Union dedicated to working for its citizens. This will contribute to the much-needed consolidation of our democracy and to a stronger Europe”, says CERRE’s Director General, Bruno Liebhaberg.  “Delivering on Europe’s climate, digital and mobility ambitions, as well as strongly defending European values of democracy and solidarity are challenging tasks. Yet they are achievable if European institutions act together in these critical sectors for Europe.”

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CERRE Academic Directors

Alexandre de Streel, University of Namur

Marc Bourreau, Telecom ParisTech

Jan Krämer, University of Passau

Michael Pollitt, University of Cambridge

Nils-Henrik von der Fehr, University of Oslo


CERRE Research Fellows

Friðrik Már Baldursson, Reykjavik University

Catherine Banet, University of Oslo

Sally Broughton Micova, University of East Anglia

Yves Crozet, Sciences Po Lyon

Karen Donders, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Richard Feasey, University College London

Monica Giulietti, Loughborough University

Chloé Le Coq, University Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas

Wolter Lemstra, Nyenrode Business Universiteit

José Luis Moraga, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Chris Nash, University of Leeds

Bert Willems, Tilburg University