The physical completion of the EU's single market: trans-European networks as experimentalist governance?

P.J. Stephenson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Since the 1993 White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, the Commission has emphasised the importance of trans-European networks (TENs) for the physical completion of the single market. Despite the 2004 and 2013 revisions to the TEN-T regulation, redefining and expanding the multimodal network, many projects remain unfinished. This article explores the Commission's enduring role in EU policy coordination from the perspective of hybrid governance, focusing on the mediating role of high-level 'European Coordinators', the use of stakeholders forums, recourse to policy evaluation, and the development of new financial instruments. Drawing on recent audit and evaluations work by the EU institutions, it explores reconfigurations of implementing actors, and engages with notions from the literature on experimentalist governance, including networks, informalism and deliberation. The analysis suggests that the Commission demonstrates resilience as a coordination body in its commitment to 'physically complete' the single market, while recognising limitations to its coordination capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-115
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of European Integration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022


  • European Commission
  • trans-European networks (TENs)
  • transport policy
  • experimentalist governance
  • EU agencies
  • policy coordination

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