by Luca Megale (Original source: Jean Monnet Chair on EU Approach to Better Regulation, LUMSA University of Rome)
On 3rd November 2021, the European Commission published the Better Regulation guidelines. As well known, the Better Regulation guidelines set out the principles that the European Commission recommends to be followed in the preparation of new initiatives and proposals and the management and evaluation of existing policies. These guidelines apply to all stages of the policymaking cycle.
They are based on the key aspects presented in the Communication “Better Regulation – Joining forces to make better laws” and are intended as internal instructions for Commission staff to increase the quality of regulation. In the same document, it is made clear that they cannot be interpreted as legally binding but should be read and applied by all Commission officials involved in regulatory activities and by managers responsible for quality control and resource allocation.
In particular, the document, following a brief introduction, analyses the key concepts and principles of Better Regulation (Ch.1), the issue of stakeholder consultation (Ch.2), evaluation – including suitability checks (Ch.3), impact assessment (Ch.4) and implementation, transposition and enforcement of EU law (Ch.5).
In the first chapter, the document focuses on how the guidelines should be applied and highlights the scope of setting out requirements for the key steps in the policy cycle. Moreover, it is stated that these should be used proportionally. It may not be possible or appropriate to follow each step presented in the guidelines in particular cases, as an emergency requires a rapid response. Better Regulation requires key concepts and principles, such as a comprehensive approach, coherent approach, a proportionate approach, a participative approach, an evidence-based approach, transparency, and learning from experience. In the same chapter, as “Better Regulation in practice”, the document focuses on an overview of implementing guidelines for “one in, one out” and on the quantification of impacts, including costs and benefits (p. 7). Besides, it also represents an analysis that covers the main instruments of Better Regulation in the policy cycle. For each phase, there are relevant principles, objectives, tools and procedures for EU evidence-informed policies: a) forward planning and political validation; b) stakeholder consultation; c) evaluation and fitness checks; c) impact assessment; d) quality control; compliance support and implementation.
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