Europeanisation, globalisation, and unconventional energy: a stepwise comparison of telecommunications and energy in Estonia and Poland, 1990-2011



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Tartu Ülikool


To what extent did Europeanisation matter in the policy transformation telecommunications and energy of new member states? While Europeanisation literature has traced the EU’s influence during the accession period, the task for the second generation of researchers is to identify rigorously the impact of Europeanisation by untangling it from other possible processes, particularly globalisation, and to identify the continuation of Europeanisation after membership. Using semi-structured interviews and policy documents, I trace liberalisation and independent regulation in Estonia and Poland’s telecommunications and energy. By using the stepwise comparative method, I argue that the link between the EU level regulatory regime and policy transformations in public utilities is weak. Instead, I forward that Estonia and Poland are able to internalise globalisation by managing and harnessing its economic and political opportunities. Specifically, this can be seen in two levels. First, for public utilities, the type of capitalism and state size are organising logics of policy transformation, which largely influence the extent and form of market and governance shifts. While some argue that globalisation leads to a process of economic and social institutionalisation, I argue that, alongside public policy literature, it is convergence towards regulatory capitalism. Although there are generated pressures from the EU to push for policy transformation before and after membership, the EU mainly facilitates the agenda of policy transformation, but the reasons for policy shifts in public utilities go back to the organising logics of state capitalism and state size. Second, I argue that, specific to the energy sector, that unconventional energy influences the state’s expectations of globalisation by opening new political and economic spaces. In particular, it indirectly influences policy transformation in energy by giving opportunities to states and involving more actors. Resources are not just technical and natural objects to empower the state, but they parlay social relations. Shale energy in both countries modifies the social relations of the state and society within, between, and amongst the international community. The key point is that resources modify the state’s expectations of globalisation by opening new political and economic spaces.