Friday

13th Dec 2019

New EU laws to pass 'regulation test'

  • The commission has promised to reduce the amount of regulation on businesses (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

New EU laws will have to get the green light from an independent scrutiny panel to make sure they do not impose unnecessary burdens on businesses before they can be tabled, according to a leaked document from the European Commission.

A six-person Regulatory Scrutiny Board will be tasked with scrutinising impact assessments for new bills and evaluating the costs of existing laws. All impact assessments will require a positive opinion from the Board before the draft law is considered by the 28 commissioners.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Three of the Board members will be hired from outside the EU institution.

The paper, obtained by EUobserver, is part of the so-called ‘Better Regulation’ initiative, which is set to be launched in mid-May. The blueprint is the brainchild of Dutch commissioner Frans Timmermans, the first vice-president of Jean-Claude Juncker’s EU executive, who has been tasked with reducing red tape for businesses.

With governments and businesses critical about the volume of new laws being adopted by the EU institutions, the Juncker commission’s work programme for 2015 spanned just five pages and included just 23 new initiatives, far fewer than usual.

Timmermans’ paper plans to expand consultations will cover the entire lifecycle of a policy.

Three month public consultations will be held when preparing new proposals and assessing their impact on businesses, and when existing laws are evaluated by the EU executive. After being published, a further two months of consultation will allow feedback to be sent to the European Parliament and Council, representing member states.

Meanwhile, the commission will also hold public consultations for technical implementing measures - known as delegated acts.

Under the commission proposal, the draft texts of delegated acts will be published on the commission's website for a month before being voted on by governments.

Originally intended to be reserved solely for technical measures to implement laws, EU lawmakers increasingly use delegated acts to deal with highly political issues, often in a bid to speed up the legislative process. The volume of delegated acts has led some to question whether legislators have the capacity to cope with the flood of acts that flow from the Commission.

The paper also calls on governments to refrain from ‘gold-plating’ EU laws when implementing them at national level, accusing MEPs and ministers of being “hesitant to agree to measures which would reduce administrative burdens”.

It also promises that fresh legislative proposals will be accompanied by “a more thorough explanation of how the initiative meets the twin tests of subsidiarity”.

“Numerous pledges to cut EU red tape have come from Brussels over the past years – but then not much happened,” Vincenzo Scarpetta, political analyst for the Open Europe think tank, told EUobserver.

“Only time will tell if the new commission is serious about substantively reducing the regulatory burden on businesses across Europe as opposed to just tinkering around the edge,” he added.

For his part, Finance Watch spokesman, Joost Mulder, told this website, “more transparency on delegated acts is welcome but in practice likely to give the financial industry an even bigger say on the supposedly technical implementation of political agreements.”

Interview

Timmermans: 'The toughest job I've ever had'

"In terms of trying to really change things - it is the toughest job I have ever had", says EU commission vice-president Frans Timmermans as the executive approaches its first 100 days in office.

Pressure mounts to grill Malta's Muscat at EU summit

The Dutch prime minister and figures from the European Parliament are both piling on pressure for leaders at the EU summit to discuss the rule of law in Malta, as the presence of the island-nation's prime minister draws protests.

Investigation

Revealed: little evidence to justify internal border checks

EUobserver has obtained notification reports from five European states explaining why they want to impose internal border checks. Few provide any substantial evidence to justify the controls, putting the European Commission in a difficult position to end them.

News in Brief

  1. UK exit poll gives Johnson majority of 86
  2. Orban: 'financial guarantees' to reach climate neutrality
  3. Merkel hopes EU leaders agree 2050 climate-neutrality
  4. Czech PM: nuclear energy needed for climate neutrality
  5. Hungary: Climate target is burden, EU should help
  6. Malta PM urged to step down ahead of EU summit
  7. France rolls out new pension scheme amid protests
  8. Germany accused of aiding war crimes in Yemen

Opinion

Does Malta's Labour Party now belong in S&D?

The Maltese Labour Party is a curious creature. No minister, MEP, MP, president, or former president has yet criticised Joseph Muscat publicly and outright over the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Exclusive

Zahradil 'conflict of interest' over EU-Vietnam trade deal

Right-wing Czech MEP Jan Zahradil is leading European Parliament negotiations on a trade deal with Vietnam. As rapporteur, he is supposed to be neutral but has neglected to declare his involvement in a group with ties to the Communist party.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. EU leaders cagey on 'Future of Europe' conference
  2. Pressure mounts to grill Malta's Muscat at EU summit
  3. Revealed: little evidence to justify internal border checks
  4. Europe needs to make mind up on relations with Africa
  5. Leaders face crucial EU summit for climate action
  6. Leaders to battle on climate target and money at summit
  7. Von der Leyen: 'Green Deal is our man-on-moon moment'
  8. North Atlantic mini states in geopolitical turbulence

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us