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02 December 2013

Competitiveness Council: Conclusions on Smart Regulation

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The Council adopted conclusions addressing the need to ensure that EU regulation is transparent, simple and is achieved at minimum cost, while fostering competitiveness and job creation, and taking into account the protection of citizens.

The Council:

1. RE-EMPHASISES that regulation at Union level is necessary in order to ensure that EU policy goals, including the proper functioning of the Single Market, are attained. Therefore, and especially in the light of the challenges being faced by the European economy, there is a need to ensure that EU regulation is transparent, simple and is achieved at minimum cost, while fostering competitiveness and job creation, and always taking into account proper protection of consumers, health, the environment and employees.

Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT)

2. WELCOMES the Commission’s Communication on REFIT "Results and Next Steps" which provides for a comprehensive framework to streamline activities related to revision of the stock of EU legislation and the development of systematic analysis, based on evaluation and fitness checks, and LOOKS FORWARD to further quick, concrete and transparent progress on regulation related actions at EU level and in Member States, inter alia, through implementation of the REFIT programme.

3. ACKNOWLEDGES the work already undertaken in recent years to alleviate the unnecessary burden of legislation and NOTES Member States’ own progress made when designing and implementing national smart regulation programmes and initiatives.

4. UNDERLINES the need for a comprehensive scoreboard to track progress at the EU and national level, including any quantification of costs and benefits, where possible, of all initiatives proposed under REFIT, such as ABR Plus programme, the Top 10 consultation and current actions in the context of the SME scoreboard.

5. CALLS ON the Commission:

  • to publish in its annual work programme all legislative initiatives deriving from REFIT, including simplification of existing EU law, withdrawals, repeals and consolidations;
  • in cooperation with Member States and stakeholders, to identify and prioritise legislation and regulatory frameworks that pose the biggest regulatory burdens, paying particular attention to the sectors with a high capacity for growth, innovation and job creation; building upon this work, to develop a five year roadmap for the implementation of the REFIT programme, which will be updated annually on a rolling basis, to simplify and reduce the overall regulatory burden;
  • to consider specific targets in sectors with high regulatory burden in order to bring tangible benefits in terms of reduction.

Ex-post evaluation

6. NOTES the findings of the Impact Assessment Board Report 2012 that a significant number of impact assessments did not include the results of ex-post evaluation.

7. WELCOMES the Commission's commitment to "evaluate first" and to ensure systematically that all significant proposals for a revision are backed up by a robust evaluation, including fitness checks, in assessing whether EU actions are actually delivering the expected results.

8. WELCOMES the Commission's Communication on “Strengthening the foundations of Smart Regulation – improving evaluation”, which aims to strengthen further the Commission's evaluation system by fully integrating it in the policy cycle and by making it more transparent, critical and comprehensive.

9. ENCOURAGES Member States and stakeholders to contribute to the public consultation on strengthening Commission evaluation policy and practice.

10. CALLS ON the Commission:

  • to develop further, building on previous experience and the outcome of the public consultation, the methodological basis for evaluations and fitness checks, including competitiveness aspects and implementation costs;
  • to ensure a coordinated approach regarding planning, prioritisation and implementation of expost evaluations and fitness checks as well as to undertake independent quality assessment.

11. CALLS ON Member States and the Commission to cooperate on data collection, monitoring and evaluation, where possible and appropriate, exercising fitness checks and joint evaluations.


Impact assessment

16. AGREES that integrated and evidence-based impact assessments are vital, analyzing both benefits and costs, and STRESSES that all relevant expertise and inputs from Member States and stakeholders, as well as available independent and scientific data, should be used to ensure the highest quality assessments. SUPPORTS a consistent and integrated approach to impact assessments with stakeholder inputs taken into consideration.

17. VIEWS the Commission’s Impact Assessment Guidelines and further operational guidance, particularly for assessing impacts on sectoral competitiveness and on micro-enterprises, as a coherent package for use in all relevant impact assessments, and SUPPORTS the Commission’s intentions, in consultation with Member States and stakeholders, to review its Impact Assessment Guidelines, including the SME test.

18. UNDERLINES Council’s commitment in the 2003 Inter-institutional Agreement on better law-making regarding impact assessments and looks forward to the review report of the 3 pilot projects on further use of impact assessment in Council in the first half of 2014; CALLS ON Member States to extend the practice of using impact assessments fully in Council discussions.

19. WELCOMES the Commission’s initiative to explore possible methodologies for cumulative cost assessment and looks forward to this being reflected in future REFIT work.

Full conclusions

Main results

Press conference video

See also: EU Competitiveness Council calls for better business environment in Europe © Lithuanian Presidency

© European Council

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