Select Committee on Constitution Minutes of Evidence


Regulatory Agencies in Europe

TABLE 1 INDEPENDENT REGULATORY AGENCIES IN BRITAIN, FRANCE, GERMANY AND ITALY IN SELECTED DOMAINS
DomainBritain FranceGermanyItaly
General competitionCompetition

Commission 1998 (1948) and Office of Fair Trading 1973
Conseil de la Concurrence 1986 (1977) Bundeskartellamt [Federal Cartel Office] 1957 Autorita" Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato 1990
Tele-communica-tionsOftel (Office of Tele-communications) 1984 Autorité de Régulation des
Télé-communications 1996
Regulierungsbe-
ho­rde fu­r Telekommunikation und Post (RegTP) 1996
Autorita" per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni) AGCOM

1997
EnergyOfgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) 2000 (1989) Commission de Régulation de l'Electricité 2000 Autorita" per l'energia elettrica e il gas 1995
WaterOfwat (Office of Water Services) 1989
RailwaysOffice of Rail Regulator and Strategic Rail Authority 1999 (1993)
Postal servicesPostal Services Commission 1999 Regulierungsbe-
ho­rde fu­r Telekommunikation und Post (RegTP) 1996
MediaIndependent Television Commission 1990 (1954) Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel 1989 (1982) Landesmedienanstalt for each LandAGCOM (see tele-communications)
Stock Exchange/sharesFinancial Services Authority 1997 (1986) Commission des operations de bourse 1996 (1967); Conseil des marchés financiers 1996 BaFin (Bundesanstalt fu­r Finanzdienstleistung- saufsicht) 2002 (1995) Consob (La Commissione per le societa" e la borsa) 1974
Environ-mentEnvironment Agency 1996
Food safetyFood Standards Agency 1999
PrivacyData Protection Registrar 2000 (1984) Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés 1978 Garante per la tutela dei dati personali 1996


Notes:

  1.  Dates refer to the creation of the Independent Regulatory Agency (IRA); dates in brackets refer to the date on which an IRA was first created in the domain.

  2.  Germany:

    (i)  Media—Each Land has a Landesmedienanstalt, which is a legal entity under public law, has a degree of financial and regulatory independence but within the supervision of the Land which ensures that it exercises its powers within the framework of legal and regulatory provisions.

    (ii)  Railways—in 1994, an Eisenbahn-Bundesamt was created, responsible for technical and legal aspects of planning and operation and for safety, but subordinate to the Transport Ministry; economic regulation lay with the Cartel Office- see M. Lodge, PhD thesis.

    (iii)  There are several regulatory bodies for finance, but they lack the independence to qualify as NMIs; the most important is the Bundesaufsicht fu­r des Wertpapierhandel created in 1995, but it is within the jurisdiction of the finance ministry; for reforms, see S. Lutz, "The revival of the nation-state? Stock exchange regulation in an era of globalized financial markets", Journal of European Public Policy 5/1 (1998), pp.153-68.

  3.  France: there are agencies for the environment (the Agence de l'environnement et de la maîtrise de l'énergie), railways (the Conseil Supérieur du service public ferroviaire) and gender equality (the Observatoire de la parité), but these lie within ministries or lack their own significant powers.

TABLE 2 PARTY ACTIVISM AND PUBLIC AFFILIATIONS OF IRA MEMBERS 1990-2001
BritainFrance GermanyItaly
Per cent holding or standing for public office (local, national or European) before or after term on IRA 3 per cent
(1 of 33)
9 per cent
(4 of 46)
15 per cent
(2 of 13)
23 per cent
(6 of 26)
Per cent publicly affiliated with party 0
(0 of 33)
46 per cent
(21 of 46)
36 per cent
(5 of 13)
77 per cent
(20 of 26)


Notes:

  1.  Coverage:

  Britain: members of all sectoral IRAs; only heads of OFT, Competition Commission and predecessor Monopolies and Mergers Commission, SIB/FSA and ITC; excludes temporary interim regulators.

  France: All members of sectoral IRAs; President of Conseil de la Concurrence and COB.

  Germany: Presidents and Vice-Presidents of Bundeskartellampt, Bundesaufsichtsamt fu­r den Wertpapierhandel and RegTP; 1 vice-President of Bundeskartellampt excluded due to lack of information.

  Italy: All members of AGCOM, AEEG and AGCM.

  2.  Information derived from biographies, newspaper reports and Who's Who.


TABLE 3 RESIGNATIONS OF IRA MEMBERS BEFORE END OF TERM 1990-2001
BritainFrance GermanyItaly
Per cent resigning before end of term (or retirement if permanent post) 15 per cent
(5 of 33)
13 per cent
(6 of 46)
17 per cent
(2 of 12)
19 per cent
(5 of 26)
Per cent resigning of IRAs existing 1990-2000 29 per cent
(5 of 17)
18 per cent
(5 of 28)
0
(0 of 5)
23 per cent
(3 of 13)

TABLE 4 AVERAGE TENURE OF SENIOR MEMBERS OF GENERAL COMPETITION AUTHORITIES 1990-2001
BritainFrance GermanyItaly
Average tenure6.4 years
(5)
7.5 years
(17)
7.7
(3)
5.3 years
(7)


Notes:

  1.  Average tenure: only those members who left during period 1990-2000, except if appointment renewed; where term of office began before 1990, time is included; excludes those deceased in office; for Germany, only Presidents of the Bundeskartellampt are included.

  2.  For France, all members of the Conseil de la Concurrence included; if only the President is included, average tenure would be 5.5 years. For Italy, all members of AGCM included; for Britain, DGFT (Director General of Fair Trading) and Chairman of Competition Commission/MMC (Monopolies and Mergers Commission).

TABLE 5 RESOURCES OF IRAS 2000
BritainFrance GermanyItaly
General competition authorities-spending 68.6m euros (OFT and Competition Commission/MMC) 1.9m euros17m euros 28.6m euros
General competition authorities-staff numbers 547 (OFT and Competition Commission/MMC) 110262137
Telecoms regulators-spending-NOTE 122.4m euros 14.1m euros63.8m euros 26.8m euros
Telecoms regulators- staff numbers-NOTE 1 1901454200 178


Note:

  1.  Germany—RegTP covers both postal and telecommunications services; Italy—AGCOM covers telecommunications and broadcasting.


TABLE 6 USE OF MINISTERIAL POWERS TO OVERTURN IRA DECISIONS
Germany—overturning refusal of merger by Bundeskartellampt by Economics minister Six decisions 1973-2000
Britain—rejection of OFT advice on referring merger to MMC/Competition Commission by Secretary of State for Trade/Trade and Industry. 14 cases 1990-97


Britain- rejection of MMC report on merger by Secretary of State for Trade/Trade and Industry.
four cases 1990-97

TABLE 7 BUSINESS ORIGINS AND DESTINATIONS OF IRA MEMBERS 1990-2001
BritainFrance GermanyItaly
Per cent IRA members from private sector (previous occupation) 71 per cent
(22 of 31)
26 per cent
(5 of 19)
see note 3
8.3 per cent
(1 of 12)
12 per cent
(3 of 25)
Per cent IRA members going to private sector after departure 93 per cent
(13 of 14)
17 per cent
(1 of 6)
60 per cent
(3 of 5)
33 per cent
(2 of 6)


Notes:

  1.  Coverage: as Table 2.

  2.  Principal occupation taken. Business includes: firms; self-employment—eg as barrister or consultant; associations representing companies.

  3.   France: if ordinary members of the Conseil de la Concurrence are included in addition to President, then the proportion from business is 28 per cent (13 of 47), an unsurprising result since one of the three "colleges" is composed of nominees from the private-sector.

TABLE 8 MERGER DECISIONS BY GENERAL COMPETITION AUTHORITIES 1990-2000
BritainFrance GermanyItaly
Mergers considered by general competition authority 1990-2000—115 references to Monopolies and Mergers Commission/Competition Commission 78Total cases notified—15594 4171
Per cent of merger cases considered4.6 per cent of `qualifying cases' considered by OFT

(115 of 2490)
1.2 per cent (6453 `operations recensées' ie mergers noted by Economics and Finance Ministry) 100 per cent100 per cent
Mergers rejected as per cent of total cases notified/qualifying cases 1.6 per cent
(39 of 2490)
N/a- since minister decides 0.2 per cent (37 of 15594)0.1 per cent (5 of 4171)
Mergers accepted with conditions/modifications as per cent of total cases notified/qualifying cases 0.7 per cent
(17 of 2490)
N/a—since minister decides N/a—only possible since 19990.6 per cent (24 of 4171)
Per cent of mergers investigated in detail rejected or subject to condition 52 per cent
(56 of 108)
N/a 16 per cent (21 of 132 for 1999-2001) N/a

TABLE 9 NUMBER OF WEBSITE VISITS TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS IRAS 2000-2002
OftelARTRegTP AGCOM
500,000284,732 different visitors in 2000; average of 10 web pages read per visitor in August 2000 In single month of March 2002—81.197 website visits and 39,220 different website visitors c 204,000

Dr Mark Thatcher March 2003


 
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