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This paper assesses the integration strategy of the European Union in regulated network markets. The paper argues that in these markets integration should not be an end in itself. In regulated markets the conventional gains from trade or freedom of establishment may be outweighed by significant welfare losses if integration involves the choice of a misguided deregulation model. Moreover, the design of the integration process will affect the distribution of the gains from integration, and this may be unacceptable to some of the countries and/or social groups involved, leading to the failure of the process. The integration strategy should carefully balance several potentially conflicting interests, with priorities that may not be the same across industries.

This paper assesses the integration strategy of the European Union in regulated network markets. The paper argues that in these markets integration should not be an end in itself. In regulated markets the conventional gains from trade or freedom of establishment may be outweighed by significant welfare losses if integration involves the choice of a misguided deregulation model. Moreover, the design of the integration process will affect the distribution of the gains from integration, and this may be unacceptable to some of the countries and/or social groups involved, leading to the failure of the process. The integration strategy should carefully balance several potentially conflicting interests, with priorities that may not be the same across industries.

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