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Changing business landscape and industrial relations in the EU electricity sector

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The electricity sector in Europe has undergone radical reform since the mid-1990s. Within the framework of the broader energy sector, a series of EU Directives has accompanied the liberalisation of national markets and the establishment of an internal electricity market under a common regulatory framework. The business landscape has changed from one in which national markets were dominated by monopolist operators to an integrated EU market with large companies on a continental, and increasingly global, scale. In the past decade, EU policies promoting renewable energy sources (RES) in electricity generation, as well as in heating and transport, have contributed to further transform the market structure, with the emergence of new firms, often SMEs, and the progressive dispersion of generating plants. Employment has fallen considerably since the mid-1990s and restructuring and reorganisation have marked the electricity sector ever since. While the business structure has undergone considerable change, industrial relations have remained relatively stable, with continuing high union density rates and collective bargaining coverage.


European energy policies

National policies to promote renewable energy sources

Market structure

Employment trends

Industrial relations

Growth of RES and impact on employment and industrial relations

Social partners’ views


Page last updated: 15 November, 2012
About this document
  • ID: TN1202028S
  • Author: Roberto Pedersini
  • Institution: Università degli Studi di Milano
  • Country: EU Countries
  • Language: EN
  • Publication date: 15-11-2012
  • Sector: Energy