European regulatory networks

Francesca Pia Vantaggiato, Fabrizio De Francesco

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The establishment of regulatory networks is one of the distinctive phenomena of the European regulatory state. Regulatory networks have been shaped by the constant evolution of the institutional and governance landscape associated with the completion of the single market and its regulatory harmonisation. Regulatory networks first emerged in the late 1990s as informal, voluntary networks of national regulatory authorities governing sectors of economic regulation and utilities. Seeing the potential to leverage regulatory coordination to harmonise regulation across the Member States, in the early 2000s the European Commission co-opted these informal networks, transforming them into European Regulatory Networks (ERNs). Typically instituted via a Commission Decision as advisory bodies to the European Commission without any administrative power, ERNs comprised representatives of national regulatory authorities for the sector in question, one from each of the Member States of the European Union (EU). Their stated purpose was to foster regulatory harmonisation via exchange of information and the facilitation of deliberation among national regulators on common standards to be adopted in their respective countries (Dehousse, 1992). Today, most ERNs have disappeared and evolved into European Agencies with limited but concrete rulemaking and enforcement powers on issues of European relevance (Egeberg et al., 2014). However, the informal and spontaneous networks that prepared the ground for ERNs still exist; national regulators have not disbanded them.

This chapter discusses both informal regulatory networks and ERNs in an evolutionary perspective in order to understand their scope and functions, the delegation dynamics they have generated, and the substantial characteristics of regulatory collaboration. Much has been written on ERNs for several sectors of economic regulation, particularly banking and finance (Bach & Newman, 2014; Maggetti & Gilardi, 2011; Newman & Bach, 2014), telecommunications (Boeger & Corkin, 2017), and energy (Maggetti, 2014; Vantaggiato, 2019). We review this literature in order to summarise the current scholarly understanding on regulatory networks in Europe and to set an agenda for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElgar Encyclopedia of EU Public Policy
EditorsPaulo Roberto Graziano, Jale Tosun
ISBN (Electronic)9781800881112
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2022


  • European Union
  • comparative politics
  • governance
  • multi-level systems
  • public policy
  • public administration


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