The 2014 European elections showed that many citizens are concerned with what they perceive as an undesirable level of EU involvement in their daily lives. Better regulation is therefore a critical self-reflection to find out if the EU has acted only where it can add value to national initiatives. However, the aim of the Better Regulation agenda is not only to review what policy areas the EU focuses on, but also how to make sure that our law-making procedures remain at the highest standard in terms of impact assessment, transparency, public consultation, and implementation. Below are three tools to reach this objective.
The Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), which assesses the existing stock of EU legislation to make it more effective and efficient without compromising policy objectives, will become more targeted, looking at the most serious sources of inefficiency and unnecessary burden, and will also quantify the costs and benefits of actions wherever possible. The Commission will establish a permanent and inclusive platform for dialogue with stakeholders and Member States on how to improve EU laws in the context of REFIT.
The Commission's Impact Assessment Board will be transformed into an independent Regulatory Scrutiny Board. Its members will have a more independent status and half of them will be recruited from outside the Commission. The board will have an expanded role in checking the quality of impact assessments of new proposals as well as fitness checks and evaluations of existing legislation. More impact assessments should be conducted throughout the legislative process.
The Commission proposes a new Inter-Institutional Agreement on Better Law-Making to the Parliament and Council, aiming for agreement before the end of 2015. The draft new IIA proposes: a common commitment to the REFIT programme; impact assessment throughout the legislative process; continuous monitoring of the performance of EU regulation and more thorough evaluations; coordinated annual and multi-annual planning, including consultation on the Commission Work Programme; greater transparency on trilateral negotiations.