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Brussels, 14th November 2006

Proposed cuts of 25 % in red tape to lead to increase in EU GDP of 1.5%

The European Commission has today put forward a proposal to cut, jointly with Member States, the administrative burden for companies by 25 % by 2012. This could lead to an increase of an estimated 1.5 % in EU GDP and subsequently more investment for growth and new jobs, amounting to €150 billion. To achieve this target, member states and regional and local authorities must also give a new political momentum to their own efforts to cut red tape. This is one of the forward looking initiatives contained in the first strategic review of the "Better Regulation" initiative. The strategic review assesses the progress to date and makes an ambitious set of proposals. The system for impact assessment of all major new proposals for legislation will be beefed up to ensure quality and objectivity through the establishment of an Impact Assessment Board. Furthermore, 43 new initiatives have been added to the simplification rolling programme covering the period 2006-2009 across a broad spectrum of policy areas. These include actions in the agriculture domain, for manufactured goods including construction products, cosmetics, and industrial emissions.

President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, said, “Our first strategic review of the better regulation initiative shows that a new political culture is emerging in the Commission. We will continue to legislate to provide added value at the European level. Our aim is for a high quality European regulatory environment that responds to citizen's demands but does not place unnecessary administrative burdens on business. The initiatives announced today show the political determination of this Commission to deliver on this agenda”.

Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: “We are moving ahead with an unprecedented drive to cut administrative burdens in Europe. We have been speaking about this for some time, now we are delivering. This will make a real difference to European businessmen. But the Commission cannot succeed alone. I call on the European Council, the European Parliament and the Member States, to endorse the priorities outlined in our communication as a common agenda for Better Regulation in the European Union and join our efforts..:”

The strategic review shows the progress to date on the Better regulation initiative including:

  • More than 160 integrated impact assessments, examining the potential social, environmental and economic impacts of Commission initiatives, prior to their adoption, have been completed since 2003;
  • A new approach to measuring the administrative burdens associated with forthcoming initiatives has been developed;
  • 68 Commission proposals pending before the Council and the European Parliament have been withdrawn;
  • The launch of a major programme to simplify existing rules. From the October 2005- programme, about 100 initiatives are to be simplified over the next three years. The Commission is on track to already deliver 50 by the end of 2006, although many of those already delivered are still pending before the Council and the European Parliament;
  • Codification, the process that brings together the provisions of existing acts with all of their subsequent amendments into one law now involves about 500 acts in all sectors. Next year alone, the Commission will be proposing nearly 100 codification acts to the European Parliament and the Council.

Following a strategic review of the progress to date, the Commission proposes to reinforce the better regulation initiative with an ambitious set of initiatives:

  • Proposing the launch of an ambitious strategy to reduce the administrative burden of existing regulation. The Commission proposes that the Spring European Council fixes a reduction target of 25%, to be achieved jointly by the EU and Member States by 2012. The Commission will present early next year an Action Plan on measuring Administrative Costs and reducing Administrative Burden.
  • Reinforcing the scrutiny of impact assessments through the creation of an Impact Assessment Board (IAB). The IAB will work under the direct authority of the Commission President and will be responsible for examining draft impact assessments. Those serving on the IAB will be asked to provide an independent opinion on the quality of impact assessment and to offer advice to the departments concerned on where improvements may be necessary.
  • Adding a further 43 new initiatives to its rolling programme covering the period 2006/2009 to simplify existing regulations.
  • Withdrawing in 2007 a further 10 proposals pending before the legislator. Regular monitoring of pending legislation is continuing;
  • This Commission recommends that any future Commission carries out a screening of pending proposals in the beginning of its mandate in order to verify that the draft legislation is in line with political priorities
  • Setting a target date of 2008 for the finalisation of a programme to reduce the volume of the existing body of EU legislation through codification;
  • Taking more preventive action to strengthen the enforcement of EU laws. In doing so the Commission will take pro-active action with Member States at an early stage to facilitate the correct transposition of key Directives, and will seek a commitment from Member States to produce correlation tables to allow for easier assessment of transposition, transparency and judicial review.

More information

Memo 1: Reducing administrative costs

Memo 2: Simplification and codification

Memo 3 Establishment of an Impact Assessment Board

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