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Bureaucracy Reduction and Better Regulation in the EU

In fall 2018, the European Commission took stock of its Better Regulation Agenda. BDI contributed to the consultation with a comprehensive position paper. German industry welcomes the progress made in improving European policy making. It is now crucial that the positive developments continue into the next legislative cycle.

Since the entry into force of the EU Agenda for Better Regulation in May 2015, the EU Commission has initiated several positive developments to improve the European policy-making and legislative system.

Important progress has been made, for example, in the area of stakeholder consultation. Companies and business associations can now participate more actively in EU decision-making processes. With the Regulatory Scrutiny Board, an independent body of experts has been created that undertakes quality assessment of Commission impact assessments. And the REFIT platform enables businesses and citizens to submit, directly to the responsible Commission services, concrete proposals to simplify EU legislation and reduce administrative burdens.

Effective regulation and cutting red tape are key prerequisites for a competitive and growth-promoting regulatory framework in Europe. BDI expressly welcomes the measures of the Better Regulation Agenda. These measures help to improve the transparency and legitimacy of European decision-making and strengthen business confidence in EU legislation. It is now crucial that this work be continued ambitiously in the next legislative cycle of the EU.

Recommendations for action by EU institutions

For the public consultation on the evaluation of the Better Regulation Agenda in autumn 2018 BDI has developed concrete recommendations for the EU institutions. Following the European elections, the focus should be on the following areas:

Apply the guidelines for better regulation more systematically

BDI notes that the EU guidelines and tools for better regulation are not always observed and uniformly applied both within the Commission and in the other EU institutions. It must be ensured that the same quality standards are always applied when planning public consultations, impact assessments and evaluations. In addition, Council and Parliament must commit themselves more strongly to the principles of better regulation in their own work.

Create transparency in transposition and implementation

EU Member States must implement EU law in a way that preserves the Single Market, strengthens the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, and avoids unnecessary bureaucratic burdens on business. A national one-to-one implementation of European law, to which the German Federal Government committed itself in the coalition agreement, is desirable. If Member States decide to go beyond the requirements of the EU legal act, they should clearly mark the “gold plating” and explain the reasons. Social partners and affected stakeholders should be involved in this process at national level.

Better regulation in the EU administration

When it comes to the implementation and application of EU law, the administrative apparatus of the EU has important competences with significant effects on companies. Guideline documents from the EU Commission/EU authorities, definitions, product standards and other technical regulations for the marketing and sale of products and materials are forms of informal legislation. It is important that the administrative procedures of the "new comitology" as well as those of the EU regulatory authorities be also brought into focus in the course of the further development of the Better Regulation Agenda.