Andrea Prontera

The Europeanization of Energy Policy in France and Italy: Institutionalization and Policy Change Between External Pressures and Internal Dynamics

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This article analyzes the role of policy's institutionalization in the member states response to European integration in a market-related policy domain. It starts with a critical overview of the concept of goodness of fit in explaining the persistence or change in national policy under European pressure, and then it proposes a revisited model of goodness of fit centred on the analysis of the degree of institutionalization of national policy. The model is tested by studying the Europeanization of energy policy in France and Italy; in particular, by exploring the policy change occurred in the power sector during the 90s in both countries. Italy and France had the same organizational model in the power sector and the same policy programme was operative. This institutional setting was deeply different from the one proposed by the European institutions for the creation of the Internal Energy Market: in fact, both cases were unfitted with European requirement but, contrary to goodness of fit prediction, the policy change was more pronounced in Italy. The reconstruction of the policy evolution at national level and the measurement of the institutionalization's degree confirm that institutionalization is an essential dimension missed by the literature on Europeanization. The revisited model proposed for the study of the impact of Europeanization shows that institutionalization could be systematically incorporated in the explanation of national policy change. The model is also important because allows to insert the Italian case in a comparative perspective regarding the analysis of the effect of the Europeanization in different institutional contexts.

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