Brussels, 19 September 2013
The High Level Group on Administrative Burdens – Questions and Answers
The High Level Group on Administrative Burdens advises the Commission on the administrative burdens placed on businesses, in particular small businesses. It concentrates on how to simplify existing EU legislation and make national public administrations more efficient and responsive to the needs of companies – particularly smaller ones – when implementing EU legislation. The Commission's initiative for the reduction of administrative burdens by 25% between 2007 and 2012 was supported by the High Level Group. It is expected, in the medium term, to lead to an increase of 1.4% in EU GDP, equivalent to €150 billion.
What is the role of the High Level Group on Administrative Burdens (HLG AB)?
The High Level Group on Administrative Burdens, chaired by Mr Edmund Stoiber, was set up in late 2007 to advise the Commission on the Action Programme for reducing administrative burdens for businesses in the EU. Its main task is to provide advice on administrative burden reduction measures suggested in the context of the Action Programme.
The Group's mandate was prolonged and extended by the Commission in August 2010 and December 2012. The most prominent feature of the second mandate was the February 2012 report, "Europe can do better" (IP/12/146), which set out best practice in the member states on implementing EU legislation in the least burdensome way.
The group will continue its work until 31 October 2014 to fully exploit the savings potential of the Action Programme. Work will focus on small, medium and and micro enterprises, as well as how to make Member States' public administrations more efficient and responsive to the needs of stakeholders when implementing EU legislation. This includes following up with Member States on the effective implementation of measures adopted under the Action Programme, as benefits will not materialise until the Action Programme is successfully implemented.
Who are the HLG AB members?
The group is chaired by Mr Edmund Stoiber, a former Prime Minister of Bavaria. It consists of 14 members selected on the basis of their expertise in better regulation and/or the policy areas covered by the Action Programme for reducing administrative burdens in the EU.
Following a public call for applications for membership in January 2013, the new members who joined the group under its third mandate include: Ms Gunilla Almgren, President of the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (UEAPME); Mr Jesús Casado Navarro-Rubio, Secretary General of European family businesses; Ms Monika Kosinska, Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance; Ms Maria Manuel Leitão Marques, Full Professor of the School of Economics at the University of Coimbra and former Secretary of State for Administrative Modernisation; Mr Jim Murray, Former Director of the European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC, reappointed); Ms Nina Renshaw, Green 10, Deputy Director of Transport and Environment; Ms Heidi Rønne Møller, EU Adviser of the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions.
Additional information on the HLG AB and its members is available via the register of Commission expert groups and similar entities and on the group's website. A full list of members is also attached to this release.
What has the "Stoiber Group" achieved so far?
A number of proposals adopted by the Commission benefited from the support of the group. Mr Stoiber and the members of the group were of great help in successfully negotiating with the Council and the Parliament on the two main reduction proposals from the Commission: VAT e-invoicing, which could save businesses up to €18 billion, and a proposal to exempt micro-enterprises from accounting rules, which could result in €6.3 billion in savings.
The group has held 45 meetings so far, during which it has adopted almost 40 opinions and reports, including opinions on administrative burden reduction measures in all 13 priority areas of the Action Programme. The opinions deal, inter alia, with more than 300 suggestions by the Commission's services, individual enterprises or business associations, national, regional and local governments or individual citizens.
The group's intermediate report of 18 September 2009 and its best practice report of 15 November 2011 provide detailed insight into the early stages of the implementation of the Action Programme and into best practices in Member States.
The Commission publishes all relevant documents on the group's activities on the HLG AB's website, including agendas and minutes of the meetings, as well as presentations, participants' submissions and opinions (including dissenting opinions).
Visit the High Level Group's website
Visit the Commission's website on smart regulation
Visit the Commission's website on administrative burden reduction
MEMO/13/786: "Commission initiatives to cut red-tape and reduce regulatory burden – Questions and Answers"
Annex: High Level Group on Administrative Burdens –List of Members