On 15 December, the Commission endorsed a new Inter-institutional Agreement (IIA) on Better Law-Making with the European Parliament and Council to improve the quality and the results of European legislation. The agreement will enter into force once approved by all three institutions. The Commission has also approved today the appointment of the 18 members of the stakeholder group of the new REFIT Platform, an important tool to identify how existing laws might be improved with the help of those that have to comply with and benefit from them every day. These are important steps in implementing the Better Regulation for Better Results Communication that the Commission adopted in May 2015.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "The Commission is committed to change how we do business in Brussels, and these are two important steps. The three institutions are agreeing to focus their energy on joint priorities where European action is clearly needed, and to give just as much attention to reviewing and improving existing rules. The REFIT Platform's expertise will also help us to have an open, transparent and inclusive dialogue on how to best remove any unnecessary burdens and improve the quality of our laws."
The IIA on Better Law-Making will bring changes across the full policy-making cycle, from consultations and impact assessment to adoption, implementation and evaluation of EU legislation. The text endorsed by the College today has been negotiated with the Parliament and Council and must be approved by all three institutions before entering into force. The General Affairs Council yesterday gave its support to the text, and the European Parliament is now beginning its internal approval process.
The new IIA must lead to joint agreements on the key topics which should be prioritised by the legislators, including simplification exercises for existing laws. The arrangements which were used for preparation of the Commission Work Programme in 2015 and 2016 will now be formalised and the three institutions will make joint declarations on the political priorities. The legislators will include review clauses wherever possible in EU legislation so that future evaluations can be better prepared and results measured. The three institutions also reaffirm their commitment to impact assessment, including by committing to take into account impact assessment work carried out by the Commission during the legislative process. Without putting into question Member States' right to add on to EU legislation, the three Institutions clearly recognise the need to push Member States to be transparent about this additional source of potential benefits and costs.
The REFIT Platform brings together experts from business, civil society, social partners, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of Regions and Member States. Today the College appointed the 18 members of the Stakeholders Group of the Platform following an open call for applications, who will sit alongside two experts nominated by the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, and will compose the Platform's Plenary with the Member State experts on the Government Group. Both Groups will meet in a Plenary session for the first time on 29 January 2016, chaired by First Vice-President Timmermans.
The Platform's main task will be to support the better achievement of policy objectives by suggesting how to simplify EU law and Member State implementing measures and how to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens. The Platform will examine public suggestions, starting from those submitted by stakeholders and citizens via the 'Lighten the Load' online tool. It will forward those suggestions considered to merit most attention to the Commission or Member State concerned. The Commission will systematically explain how it intends to follow up.
In May 2015 the Commission presented its Better Regulation for Better Results Communication, identifying a number of innovations in the way that policy-making is conducted in Brussels. The publication of this package included the draft Inter-institutional Agreement which has been negotiated in the past months with the Parliament and Council, and the proposal to set up the REFIT Platform, a new Regulatory Scrutiny Board to monitor the quality of Commission Impact Assessments and new online tools to open up policy making and review stakeholder feedback on existing laws. The Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), which assesses the existing stock of EU legislation to make it more effective and efficient without compromising policy objectives, was strengthened with the May package.
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