Brussels, 28 September 2010
The Commission has today welcomed the publication of a report by the European Court of Auditors on the Commission's Impact Assessment system. The report confirms that the system is of real value to EU decision-makers, is effective in raising the quality of proposals and represents international best practice in terms of transparency and its integrated approach. The audit shows that the Commission has the right structures in place to deliver on its smart regulation agenda.
Smart regulation is one of the Commission's key political priorities under President Barroso's direct responsibility. The Commission is delighted that the European Court of Auditors has confirmed that the Commission's impact assessment system has been effective in supporting decision-making within the EU institutions. And it is particularly pleased that the independent quality control body that the Commission introduced, the Impact Assessment Board, has been recognised as raising the quality of analysis.
This report recognises the enormous progress made by the Commission in recent years. The Court considers that the Commission's approach compares favourably to other impact assessment systems and is on several aspects good practice within the EU.
The audit makes a valuable contribution to the debate about Smart Regulation and should help the EU Institutions and Member States to progress on this shared agenda. For its part, the Commission will continue to improve its Impact Assessment system in line with the recommendations of the Court and will continue to work with Parliament and Council to help them to deliver on their commitments.
The European Court of Auditors published the results of its comprehensive audit of the Commission's Impact Assessment system today, 28 September 2010. The Court's independent experts found that:
By the end of August 2010, the Commission had carried out 520 Impact Assessments.
The Commission plans to improve its Impact Assessment system further, encouraged by the Court's recommendations. An important step has already been taken towards even greater transparency with the publication of 'Roadmaps' for all initiatives with significant impacts, outlining what analysis has already been done and what is planned. These are already being used and Member States are using them to track Commission plans. The Commission also intends to make progress on other smart regulation activities, looking beyond Impact Assessment of upcoming legislation to evaluations designed to improve existing one. Shortly, the Commission will adopt a communication on 'Smart Regulation' in the European Union outlining how, in practical terms, it will continue to ensure a highly effective and efficient EU regulatory framework in the coming years.
The purpose of the Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) system is to provide evidence for political decision-making and to ensure that all relevant policy options are considered when addressing any given problem. Impact Assessment reports are published alongside major proposals to explain the justification and evidence-base behind them. The system has been progressively extended and now covers all initiatives whose impacts are expected to be significant. All IA reports receive now an independent quality check by the Impact Assessment Board (IAB). Across the world, only a few national IA systems have the same level of ambition and scope as the Commission's system. All Commission impact assessments together with the opinion of the IAB are publicly available. The European Court of Auditors decided in 2008 to audit the Commission's impact assessment system. It analysed whether impact assessments support decision-making in the EU institutions. The audit process began in June 2008, and the Court has examined more than 100 Commission Impact Assessments produced from 2003-2008, and interviewed around 190 people. The Court was assisted by an advisory panel and a focus group of leading international experts in better regulation. The report of the European Court of Auditors can be accessed at
and on the President's website:
Further information about Impact Assessment in the Commission:
'Roadmaps', which outline Impact Assessment plans or draft findings for forthcoming initiatives are available at: