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Defining European success with smart regulation


BIS Department for Business Innovation and Skills - Expert Author

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Issued on 11 March 2010

A new report published jointly today by the British, Danish and Dutch governments challenges the way European institutions make decisions and argues that smart EU regulation must mean that businesses and citizens are put at the heart of all European policy-making.

EU regulation, and the access to the internal market it provides, gives substantial benefits to the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands and other Member States. Too often, however, European regulation is seen merely as burdensome. The report, “Smart Regulation: A cleaner, fairer and more competitive EU” addresses this and shows how smart EU regulation will support growth and recovery in the current economic climate, maximise the European Union’s social and environmental benefits, while reducing burdens and costs.

Building on Commission President Barroso’s 2009 proposals for his second term, the report suggests four critical elements in the EU’s next phase of reform:

making the EU world-class in how it deals with regulation by improving consultation with “end-users”, such as businesses and consumers, throughout the legislative process;strengthening the role of the Impact Assessment Board and making impact assessments the basis for EU policy proposals, not an afterthought; ensure smart regulation is embedded in every policy decision the Commission, Council and European Parliament make, and providing accountability by the Commission publishing an annual overview of the cumulative costs and benefits of European legislation; andmaking sure the Council, the Parliament and the European Court of Auditors use better regulation principles to understand the impact of EU policy-making.

To encourage the sharing of best practice the report highlights a number of national and European regulatory practices such as

the European Commission’s voluntary agreement, signed by 10 mobile phone producers, to reduce radically electronic waste by using standardised phone chargers;the UK’s Simplification Programme which has cut the cost of regulation by nearly £3 billion a year to date; the UK’s publication of a Forward Programme of all new regulations to increase transparency and allowing for the first time Government and business a full picture of the impact of regulation;Denmark’s Burden Hunter’s programme, which has helped policy-makers to obtain a better understanding of what is particularly troublesome for business and what creates value for end-users; andThe Netherlands’ broadened result-oriented regulatory reform programme for business, linked to key quantitative and qualitative indicators to reduce regulatory burdens.

Ian Lucas, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, said:

“In the UK better regulation is an essential element of creating the right environment to help businesses start up, invest and grow and build a prosperous, fair and safe society.

“Putting better regulation solutions into practice across Europe will have an enormous impact, not only saving money but promoting economic growth and allowing business to prosper.

“This report is an opportunity to set out a strong, new approach for Europe and encourage the European institutions and other member states to seize this opportunity for further reform and improvement, making policy-makers and officials more accountable to the people of Europe.”

Danish Minister for Economic and Business Affairs, Brian Mikkelsen said:

"I am happy that the three front runners in the area of better regulation were able to join forces and make concrete what we think should constitute what President Barroso has called “Smart Regulation”. One of the innovations in the report is an enhanced focus on the end-user's needs and perception of regulation. This focus needs to be embedded in the way all Institutions, including Member States in the European Union, deal with regulation".

To view the executive summary please go to ile54761.pdf

To view a copy of the report go to ile54760.pdf

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-03-14 16:11:05 in Legal Articles

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