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EU Action Programme for reducing administrative burdens

Commission Européenne - MEMO/07/25   24/01/2007

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MEMO/07/25

Brussels, 24th January 2007

EU Action Programme for reducing administrative burdens

This Action Programme sets out how the Commission proposes that information obligations should be identified, measured and reduced. The programme will measure administrative costs, take a judgement on which of these costs constitute unnecessary burdens and make proposals to remove them accordingly.

The Action Programme aims at delivering continuous, concrete improvements for businesses throughout the exercise. The Commission will not wait for the completion of this multi-annual measurement before showing results. Therefore, the Action Programme is accompanied by the first package of concrete reduction measures for immediate action. A sample of five of these can be found below:

1) Reduce paperwork regarding export refunds for small farms

The proposal aims at simplifying Commission Regulation (EC) No 800/1999 concerning the documentary proof to be delivered by operators in order to receive export refunds for exporting certain agricultural produce. The proposal will raise the threshold and thereby exempt small farms from these reporting requirements.

2) Reduce Simplify statistics regarding the information society

The proposal will significantly simplify the implementing measures applying Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society. The proposal aims at reducing statistical obligations, by considerably simplifying the questionnaires. As a result businesses will be met with fewer, more targeted questions.

3) Simplify information obligations regarding energy crops

The proposal will simplify Commission Regulation (EC) No 1973/2004 in order to ease the obligations for farmers, collectors and or processors of energy crops. The aim is to reduce the reporting obligation for the operators and make it possible to replace the obligatory lodging of a security by the operators by another system offering equivalent assurance for the good financial control of the system.

4) Remove obligations for written reports on mergers and divisions

The proposal will simplify Council Directives 78/855/EEC and 82/891/EEC by easing requirements for written reports to the stockholders in case of mergers and divisions. The proposal aims at making the reporting requirements voluntary and giving stockholders themselves the opportunity to decide whether the written reports should be drawn up in a national merger or division. Thereby companies would be free not to draw up the reports unless shareholders explicitly ask for them.

5) Remove outdated transport statistics

This proposal aims at simplifying Regulation No 11 concerning the abolition of discrimination in transport rates and conditions, in implementation of Article 79 (3) of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community. The proposal will remove certain obligations to provide information on tariffs, agreements, price deals and transport. The proposal will remove outdated requirements for documentation on a series of issues when transporting goods from one member state to another. The Regulation in case dates back to the time when transporters could not cross borders as freely as today (1960), however, this change should update the requirement to present conditions.

1. The complete list of immediate actions

Area
Company Law
Description
Ease requirements regarding written reports to the stockholders in case of merger and division.
EC legislation
Third Council Directive 78/855/EEC of 9 October 1978 based on Article 54 (3) (g) of the Treaty concerning mergers of public limited liability companies and Sixth Council Directive 82/891/EEC of 17 December 1982 based on Article 54 (3) (g) of the Treaty, concerning the division of public limited liability companies.
Reduction measure
Make the requirements voluntary and give stockholders the opportunity to decide whether the document should be drawn up in a national merger or division to align with the provision of the tenth directive.

Area
Agriculture
Description
Ease the obligations for farmers, collectors and or processors of energy crops that have to be complied with in order for the farmers to receive support for the cultivation of energy crops.
EC legislation
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1973/2004.
Reduction measure
Reduce the reporting obligation for the operators and make it possible to replace the obligatory lodging of a security by the operators by another system offering equivalent assurance for the good financial control of the system.


Area
Agriculture
Description
Ease the requirements concerning the documentary proof to be delivered by operators in order to receive export refunds for exporting certain agricultural produce.
EC legislation
Commission Regulation (EC) No 800/1999.
Reduction measure
Raise threshold. Article 16(1) requires exporters to deliver a copy of a customs document as proof of importation in a third country in order to get differentiated refunds paid. Under certain conditions the paper copy may be replaced by IT generated information. Article 17 gives Member States the option to waive the requirement of article 16 (1) for refunds up to certain thresholds, depending on the destination. In that case only a transport document is required. To the extent possible, an extension of the waiver in order to cover more situations will be considered.
Area
Statistics
Description
Ease certain statistical obligations on farmers.
EC legislation
Council directives 93/23/EEC; 93/24/EEC and 93/25/EEC.
Reduction measure
Reduce frequency of certain agricultural statistics to once a year by merging and simplifying the 3 directives. More specifically frequencies will be reduced for surveys in Member States with pig populations smaller than 3 million head and cattle population smaller than 1.5 million head. Furthermore, Member States will be allowed to use sources other than surveys (e.g. the system for the identification and registration of bovine animals) to make the required estimates, thus easing the response burden on farmers.
Area
Statistics
Description
Ease certain statistical obligations regarding the information society.
EC legislation
Implementing regulation applying regulation (EC) No 808/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society.
Reduction measure
Simplify the ordinary and sector questionnaire in the annual Commission Regulation that implements regulation 808/2004, thus easing the administrative burdens for respondents. The proposal aims at reducing the volume of statistical questions posed on businesses in the information society.
Area
Transport
Description
Ease certain obligations to provide transport statistics.
EC legislation
EEC Council: Regulation No 11 concerning the abolition of discrimination in transport rates and conditions, in implementation of Article 79 (3) of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community.
Reduction measure
Remove the obligation to provide information on tariffs, agreements, price deals and transport. The proposal will remove outdated requirements (from 1960) for documentation on a series of issues when transporting goods across national borders within the Union.
Area
Transport
Description
Ease information obligations in the transport sector.
EC legislation
Council Directive 96/26/EC of 29 April 1996 on admission to the occupation of road haulage operator and road passenger transport operator and mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications intended to facilitate for these operators the right to freedom of establishment in national and international transport operations.
Reduction measure
Introduce electronic register to enhance exchange of data and allow targeted checks, thereby reducing administrative burdens on undertakings.

Area
Transport
Description
Ease information obligations in the maritime sector.
EC legislation
Council Directive 96/35/EC of 3 June 1996 on the appointment and vocational qualification of safety advisers for the transport of dangerous goods by road, rail and inland waterway.
Reduction measure
Simplify the administrative procedures both for public authorities (EU or national) and for private bodies.
Area
Food hygiene
Description
Exempt certain small businesses from HACCP requirements.
EC legislation
Regulation 852/2004.
Reduction measure
Allow flexibility for certain small businesses in applying the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) requirements. Smaller food businesses can achieve the same required hygiene levels by applying good hygienic practices without applying all the HACCP procedures to control their activities.
Area
Food hygiene
Description
Simplify administrative requirements for certain fishing vessels
EC legislation
Regulation 853/2004
Reduction measure
Remove unnecessary requirements for small fishing vessels, such as detailed record keeping on controls.

The planned items for immediate action attached to this package are estimated to reduce the administrative burdens on businesses by approximately 1.3 bn Euro on an annual basis.

2. Priority areas

The Commission's measurement exercise will commence in summer 2007 to be completed by end of 2008. It will cover the following priority areas:
1. Company law

2. Pharmaceutical legislation

3. Working environment/ employment relations

4. Tax law/VAT

5. Statistics

6. Agriculture and agricultural subsidies

7. Food Safety

8. Transport

9. Fisheries

10. Financial services

11. Environment

12. Cohesion policy

13. Public procurement

3. Methodology and organisation

The Action Programme is based in the Standard Cost Model (SCM) methodology which is being applied by a growing number of Member States and the OECD. The methodology entails a detailed mapping of information obligations included in the selected legislation, as well as in-depth interviews with businesses affected by the rules. The key idea is to put a price tag on each information obligation showing the time and money businesses across Europe spend filling in forms, submitting information etc.

  • Table 1. Example of a calculation with the SCM[1]

If a certain information obligation requires 100.000 European businesses to spend 2 hours 4 times a year filling in a certain form, submitting and storing it, and the employees earn 20 euro per hour, the total cost of this obligation would be 16.000.000 euro.

The measurement itself will be outsourced in order to optimise resources and allow a fresh look at things. Meanwhile, the Commission will work in close cooperation with Member States governments and all relevant stakeholders to make sure that the programme succeeds. Of course, the measurement is not a goal in itself. Contrarily, the aim is to use the results of the measurement to continuously deliver proposals for reducing unnecessary administrative burdens on businesses.
More information (including the Action Programme for reducing administrative burdens)

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/regulation/better_regulation/index_en.htm

See also see Memo MEMO/06/425


[1] The EU SCM is presented in Annex 10 of the Commission’s Impact Assessment Guidelines, SEC (2005) 791. The SCM rests on the following equation: Cost per administrative activity = Price x Time x Quantity (population x frequency).


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