José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement following the meeting with Edmund Stoiber on the reduction of administrative burdens
Joint press point
Brussels, 15 April 2010
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,
Today I am happy to welcome again Edmund Stoiber, the chair of the High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens.
We discussed the future aims and role of the High Level Group for the next two years.
As you know, we last met in September 2009 when I asked Dr Stoier to continue his important task for another two years until mid-2012.
2012 is the target year for achieving a 25% reduction of administrative burdens at European and national level.
Dr Edmund Stoiber and the High Level Group have worked very successfully until now. And I really want to very sincerely congratulate him for his excellent work.
Quite a number of proposals adopted by the Commission benefited from the inspiration and support of the group: For example: the two Commission proposals on e-invoicing and exempting micro enterprises from accounting rules represent several billions Euro of savings (€18.4 billion for e-invoicing and €6.3 billion for accounting rules according to our estimates); and the members of the Group and Dr Stoiber himself were of great help in the negotiations of these files with the Council and the Parliament.
I am proud to recall that during our previous mandate we have reduced the size of EU laws by almost 1600 legal acts (14%) and prepared measures to save businesses around 40 billion euros in administrative costs which goes considerably beyond the original target of 25%.
Reducing administrative burdens means unlocking the growth potential of our enterprises and contributing to economic recovery.
Industry and especially SMEs have been hit hard by the crisis. That's why we press ahead with the Smart Regulation agenda.
After today's meeting, I am very happy to inform you that Edmund Stoiber and I agreed on the following:
Firstly, the High Level Group will continue its work until 2012 to fully exploit the savings potential of the Action Programme. This programme, as you know, started with some forty proposals and in the meantime counts roughly one hundred pieces of Community law. This is where the Group has enormous value added;
Secondly, Edmund Stoiber and his High Level Group will prepare a report by November 2011 on best practice of Member States to implement EU legislation in the least burdensome way;
Thirdly, Edmund Stoiber and the Group will help the Commission to pilot our proposals through the rough waters of the legislative process in the Council and the European Parliament. As you know, very often it is not the Commission which is at the origin of red tape but rather the co-legislators or the Member States who sometimes add extra burdens to the requirements of our proposals.
Fourthly, the Group will be involved in the Commission's simplification efforts.
And fifthly, I want to make it clear that I would favour an even more regular and structured exchange of views and experience between the High Level Group, Stoiber Group, and the Impact Assessment Board, and also with the deputy Secretary Genaral on administrative burden issues. I think that this informal cooperation between the Impact Assessment Board and Stoiber Group can be of great help.
So, in fact, this was a very successful meeting and I want once again, dear Edmund, to congratulate you for the very good work and let's continue together to free our enterprises from unnecessary administrative chains. Proposing is good, agreeing is better, implementing is best. And we have to be focused on the real implementation, successful implementation of European legislation to make life easier for our businesses and for our citizens. And I look forward to continue the excellent cooperation with Edmund Stoiber personally and the High Level Group.
I want at this occasion also to thank Dr Stoiber for his commitment to Europe during these years of working with us on the administrative burdens. In fact he went beyond this issue of administrative burdens, he was also explaining as a very experienced statesman the importance of Europe for all of us. And today, more than ever we need a stronger Europe. And for us a stronger Europe is a Europe that is closer to the citizens, that is less bureaucratic, that makes life easier for the citizens and for businesses.
Once again, danke schoen, Edmund.