Europe’s experience of more than 20 years with liberalisation and competition in network industries, such as electricity, gas, rail, telecommunications, media, postal and water services, is mixed. It shows nevertheless that the presence of well-functioning regulatory authorities is an essential, but not sufficient condition to secure consumers’ access to services and also to foster investments and growth in those crucial sectors for the European economy.
The CERRE Code of Conduct and Best Practices for the setup, operations and procedure of regulatory authorities provides fresh insight into the efficient enforcement of regulation by regulatory authorities in Europe’s network industries. It codifies how regulators should interact with regulated entities and governments at all stages of the regulation process. It also lays out key principles that should guide regulatory action and identifies best practices.
On the basis of its analysis, which surveys existing literature and practices, the CERRE Code shows that the regulatory authority must be given a clear legislative mandate. The latter should be combined with broad powers to allow its discharge and sufficient budgetary resources to adequately carry out the tasks which it encompasses.
The Code also sets out that in its operations, the regulatory authority should engage openly and transparently with all stakeholders, and actively and constructively collaborate with national governments, the EU and the European Commission. When considering introducing regulation, the authority should conduct thorough impact assessments and consultations, and give comprehensive reasons for its decisions.
Finally, while keeping in mind cost-effectiveness, it should conduct ex-post assessments of its policies to be able to understand their impact and optimise its interventions.
A vibrant European internal market which delivers benefits to citizens and consumers needs independent, accountable and efficient regulatory authorities. The CERRE Code provides a critical contribution to the understanding and dissemination of robust governance principles and best practices across Europe’s Member States.