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Brussels, 10 March 2008

European Commission proposals for fast track administrative burden reductions in 2008

The European Commission has today presented its list of eleven new fast track actions to reduce administrative burdens for companies, in order to enhance economic growth. They are the second package of such fast track actions and form part of the overall programme to reduce the administrative burdens for entrepreneurs, by 25 percent in 2012. These immediate measures are likely to generate significant benefits of around 1 Billion Euro through technical changes in existing rules (e.g. reporting obligations).

Before finalising the list of 2008 Fast Track Actions, the Commission has sought the opinion of the newly established High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens. The opinion adopted on 26 February 2008 and the comments received from other sources expressed general support for the 2008 fast track action package.

Among the new proposals for quickly simplifying legislation hampering the success of businesses are:

  • Fewer translations when opening branches in other Member States: the need to have translations certified by several Member States will no longer be required when the same language is practiced. The proposal contributes to lowering the cost of establishing new branches of companies and thereby gives a very concrete positive signal to European businesses.
  • The requirement for companies to explain in the accounts formation expenses and to break down the net turnover into categories of activity and geographical markets are clearly excessive for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and should therefore be abolished for them.
  • Facilitating the market introduction of new radio and telecommunication equipment: Producers should notify new products for all Member States only once. This will reduce the costs caused by the existence of different rules in the Member States.
  • Reduce paperwork for companies placing medicines on the EU market. Coping with different rules in the Member States mobilises more than 60% of the resources of companies’ regulatory departments. This simplification will make it easier to change rules for packaging or the production process without jeopardizing patient’s safety.
  • Reducing the statistical reporting duties of SMEs (Intrastat): The Commission intends to further reduce the number of companies which have to report on intra-community trade.
  • Differences in definitions for “volatile organic compounds” create some confusion and complicate compliance. Aligning different definitions of the same subject will reduce paper work of stakeholders.
  • Batteries lawfully placed on the market before 26 September 2008 will not have to be withdrawn for new labelling . A possible misunderstanding will be clarified.
  • Reducing the paperwork for operators reprocessing agricultural starch products.
  • Duty to pay double to disclose the business information abolished: Companies have to disclose the same details in electronically available commercial registers and in the official journal/national gazette. In the future they will only pay once.

It is already clear that the measures envisaged for batteries, disclosure of business information and statistical reporting are very significant. The latter one alone would exempt 190 000 companies from report on intra-EU trade. The total benefits of these measures is estimated as at least 1 Billion Euro.

Ten fast track actions were tabled in 2007, with estimated savings of € 1,3 billion for EU businesses. 5 of the 10 actions have been formally adopted, thereby cutting administrative burdens by approximately € 500 million (see MEMO/08/63). The European Parliament and the Council are likely to adopt the remaining proposals in the first part of 2008.

Full list of proposals

Legislation concerned
Short description of the envisaged measure
Commission Regulation (EEC) No 1722/93 of 30 June 1993 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulations (EEC) No 1766/92 and (EEC) No 1418/76 concerning production refunds in the cereals and rice sectors respectively
Simplification of control procedures on modified starches by increasing the threshold below which these procedures do not apply.
Directive 97/68/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1997 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to measures against the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants from internal combustion engines to be installed in non-road mobile machinery (NRMM)
Remove the administrative burdens arising from the notification requirements under the flexibility scheme and falling on Member States' approval authorities and manufacturers
Directive 1999/5/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 1999 on radio equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment and the mutual recognition of their conformity
Reduce the administrative burden for manufacturers arising from the need to notify to Member States the intention to place radio-communications equipment on the market
Pharmaceutical legislation:
- Directive 2001/82/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001 on the Community code relating to veterinary medicinal products
- Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001 on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use
Review the legal bases of the Variations Regulations in order to bring full harmonisation of the variations rules within the EU. This will allow to make the regulatory framework governing changes to medicinal products (e.g. change in the packaging, in the address of the manufacturer, ...) clearer, simpler and more flexible.

Commission Decision 2002/739/EC of 3 September 2002 establishing revised ecological criteria for the award of the Community eco-label to indoor paints and varnishes and amending Decision 1999/10/EC.
The definition of a volatile organic compound (VOC) varies unnecessarily between legislative instruments. It is generally not helpful to have differently worded definitions where they cover the same enterprises/activities. The VOC definitions will be harmonised
Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and repealing Directive 91/157/EEC
Clarifying that batteries lawfully placed on the market before 26 September 2008 do not have to be withdrawn from the market or relabelled after this date.
Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the EP and of the Council on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States
Simplification of Intrastat with a view to alleviate the statistical reporting of economic operators, in particular SMEs
First Council Directive 68/151/EEC of 9 March 1968 on co-ordination of safeguards which, for the protection of the interests of members and others, are required by Member States of companies within the meaning of the second paragraph of Article 58 of the Treaty, with a view to making such safeguards equivalent throughout the Community
Eliminate the costs of publishing, in the national gazette, information that has already been disclosed in the commercial register.
Eleventh Council Directive 89/666/EEC of 21 December 1989 concerning disclosure requirements in respect of branches opened in a Member State by certain types of company governed by the law of another State
Member States should not require the translation and the certification of the translation to be made in their respective country.
Fourth Council Directive 78/660/EEC of 25 July 1978 based on Article 54 (3) (g) of the Treaty on the annual accounts of certain types of companies
Elimination of certain disclosure requirements from the Directive
Seventh Council Directive 83/349/EEC of 13 June 1983 based on the Article 54 (3) (g) of the Treaty on consolidated accounts
Clarification of the relationship between the IAS Regulation 1606/2002 and the Seventh Directive.

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