Taking Stock of Better Regulation policies in the EU

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Credits image: European Commission

On 14 September 2016, on the occasion of President Juncker’s 2016 State of the Union address, the Commission published the Communication (2016) 615 final  “Better Regulation: Delivering better results for a stronger Union”. The Communication presents the major results achieved in the field of better regulation in 2015 and 2016. It alsodescribes the next steps that are already underway.

The action of the Commission between 2015 and 2016 followed the principle of being big on the big things, as the work has been focused on major initiatives with high EU added value. In this perspective, the scale of the Commission annual Work Programme was significantly reduced, counting 23 new priority initiatives and packages in 2015 and 23 again in 2016. At the same time the number of proposals for regulation and directives made by the Commission for the adoption by the European Parliament under the ordinary procedure has steadily declined.

The 2017 Commission Work Programme will remain focused on a few crucial proposals, reflecting the 10 priorities of the Juncker Commission.

The Commission has continued its effort to simplify existing legislation in the context of Regulatory Fitness Programme (REFIT). Since the launch of the programme, almost 200 initiatives for burden reduction and simplification have been carried out. During the last two years, the involvement of stakeholders was also improved, especially by means of web-based public consultations. The Commission also established the REFIT Platform to bring stakeholders and Member States into the REFIT work. The Platform has expressed a bunch of opinions on proposals for simplification in its first semester of activity and the Commission will report on its intended follow-up in the Work Programme for 2017.

The Communication underlines that better regulation it is a joint endeavour. The new Inter-Institutional Agreement on Better Law-Making, which entered into force in 2016, marks a significant step forward in the field of better regulation and it calls on the European Parliament, the Council and the Member States to work closely with the Commission.

Among the priorities of the Commission, it is worth mentioning the intention of promoting a more effective application, implementation and enforcement of EU law. To this purpose, the Commission plans to work with the Member States to ensure that citizens can easily have access to information on how EU rules are implemented at the national level. Moreover, it will present a Communication on the application of EU law.

(Eleonora Cavalieri)