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Brussels, 3 May 2001

Commission launches new round of SLIM (Simplification of Legislation in the Internal Market)

The European Commission has launched the latest (fifth) round of SLIM (Simplification of Legislation in the Internal Market), concerning the shipment of radioactive waste, the levels of pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables and the Directive on Cosmetics. Existing Community legislation in each of these three areas will be reviewed by SLIM teams with a view to identifying those provisions that are particularly burdensome and costly for users of the legislation and could be modified without compromising the objectives of the legislation. Each team is composed of five representatives of Member States and an equal number representing users of the legislation concerned.

Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein commented "the SLIM Initiative constitutes an important element of the Commission's overall strategy to improve the quality of Community legislation and the regulatory environment in which business operates, as called for by the Lisbon European Council in March 2000."

One of the new elements in Phase V of SLIM is that teams will operate with a specific "simplification" mandate drawn up by the Commission and Member States, which requests them to focus on how best to reduce red tape and lengthy and costly procedures, while not jeopardising the achievement of policy objectives.

The SLIM Initiative was launched as a pilot project in 1996 (see IP/96/990) and has facilitated the review of 14 legislative areas. Recommendations from SLIM teams have formed the basis of Commission proposals to simplify Community legislation in areas such as VAT (see IP/00/1168 & IP/98/560), banking (see IP/97/1160), the recognition of professional qualifications (see IP/01/253), the combined nomenclature for external trade, ornamental plants (see IP/97/1034) and social security (see IP/98/1172). A review of the strengths and weakness of the initiative was carried out in early 2000 (see IP/00/224) and resulted in the adoption of a 15 point action plan to increase its effectiveness.

A page on the website of the Commission's Internal Market Directorate General ( will provide details on the work of the three SLIM teams and so enable interested parties to track progress being made during the review process.

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