Towards Better Regulation through Innovation: a new EU Law Principle?


On October, 13th 2016 the European Commission discussed a new report issued by the European Policy Strategy Centre (“the Centre”) about the Innovation Principle’s contribution to Better regulation strategies. According to the Centre, innovation is not only a precondition to sustainable and job-creating growth, but a true political and legal principle. Although this principle is not explicitly affirmed in the Treaties, their systemic interpretation suggests its enforceability, especially with reference to the States’ duty to design policies in order to facilitate the exercise of individual freedoms. Optimising the legal framework for innovation implies the achievement of a fair balance between the innovation principle and other Treaty-based principles, such as the protection of human health and the environment. Moreover, regulation can either be a barrier or a driver of innovation; for instance, ineffective and incomprehensive regulation can create a ‘red tape’ that requires huge administrative efforts for businesses and administrative authorities themselves. On the contrary, bankruptcy legislation or intellectual property rights set an important pre-condition for innovation.

Therefore, in order to reap the benefits of the innovation principle, there is a need to account for the different categories of regulation and ensure that synergies between policy areas are created. Moreover, the innovation principle should be integrated throughout the regulatory life cycle and expressed through a range of instruments, in a fair balance with other Treaty-based principles. The resulting cultural change will mean that innovation will be better accepted as a natural way of addressing Europe’s societal challenges and improving its opportunities to prosper.


(Mariasole Porpora)