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Intra-institutional rivalry and policy entrepreneurship in the European Union

Simpson, Seamus (2000) Intra-institutional rivalry and policy entrepreneurship in the European Union. New media & society, 2 (4). pp. 445-466. ISSN 1461-4448

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The topic of information and communications technology (ICT) convergence is now of primary interest to policy makers in industry and government at the national and international level, as well as the academic community. In 1997, the European Commission published a Green Paper on the matter, and subsequently launched a consultation process which resulted in a series of re-regulatory proposals as part of the 1999 Communications Review. In recent years, there has been considerable evidence of Commission pro-activity and agenda setting in telecommunications and broadcasting. This article argues that ICT convergence policy is an interesting case of both policy entrepreneurship and intra-institutional rivalry within the Commission. Here, the ambitious initial proposals of interests in the Commission in favour of creating a uniform, light-touch regulatory ICT regime at EU level were significantly modified in the light of opposition from the Commission's own quarters, other EU institutions, the national political level and the broadcasting sector. As a result, it appears that in the immediate future there will be only limited, though still very significant, development of a convergent approach to ICT regulation, in the form of measures dealing with infrastructure and associated services.

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