Single regulation-(13.04.03)

One topic the EU does not seem to have approached yet is common regulators across markets. Given that for competition policy this has been dealt with, given that the EU authority has first rights over market issues that cover cross border competition, it may be time to consider whether individual markets also require single body regulation.

Financial services may be the first to get this treatment with the European Competition Commission suggesting that local monopolies in clearing houses should be abolished and replaced with Europe-wide regulation. However there should also be scope for consumer market regulation to also be considered. For instance in energy, although the EC has been trying to persuade individual governments to open up consumer markets and the competition authority has takeover scrutiny powers, individual countries still regulate the local markets in completely different ways. In a single market why should electricity, for instance, be treated differently in different countries in what is supposed to be a single market.

One other advantage of a single european regulator would be to widen the efficiency comparisons that can be made about utiltity firms and also open up the funding markets wider. The chances are regulation could revert to more simplistic RPI-x model rather than the current more complex relationships that have built up in many countries between the regulator and those they are regulating.