As this session of the European Parliament draws to a close, the European Commission has launched an assessment of its Better Regulation agenda.
The report analyses the success of the Better Regulation agenda, which was first implemented in 2015 with the aim of drawing on the lessons of past successes and failures to build consistently improving, evidence-based policy. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has acknowledged EU’s efforts to improve regulatory policy, naming the bloc as one of the best policymaking bodies in 2018.
The Better Regulation stocktaking exercise found the agenda had contributed to significant improvement in EU policymaking and cited “widespread demand” for continued Better Regulation action. The report recognised success and advocated further efforts in the following fields:
- Public consultations on policy – the Commission has held more than 400 public consultations since the implementation of the Better Regulation agenda, enabling millions of EU residents to contribute their input to policy proposals; while the Have Your Say policy comment portal has received just under 900,000 visitors in 2018. The report suggested more be done to raise awareness of the ways in which Europeans can contribute to policymaking exercises in their Member State;
- Policy evaluations and impact assessments – the recently instituted Regulatory Scrutiny Board provides support and oversight for assessments of policy implementation. The report recommended more effective and timely assessment activities, as well as greater flexibility in regulatory policy assessment, in recognition of the fact that certain policies and exercises are implemented in response to emergent incidents and crises;
- Legislation simplification – the Commission identified 150 areas where legislation could be streamlined in order to minimise unnecessary administrative burden; and
- Shared effort – the Better Regulation stocktaking exercise noted that legislation and policymaking could be rendered substantially more effective and simplified through greater cooperative and collaborative efforts between the EU’s various governing bodies and the governments of Member States.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “There is widespread recognition that we are leading by example, and people call on us to sustain our commitment to better regulation. Better regulation is now embedded in the DNA of European decision making. Now we must nurture and strengthen our efforts, especially in a post-fact world where the very fabric of our democratic debate and scientific authority is being challenged.”
The Commission will assess the results of its Better Regulation stocktaking exercise further at a conference on 29 April, where public and private sector stakeholders will collaborate to establish strategies for “timely and sound” policymaking.