New guidelines published by the Commission on impact assessment say officials should look in particular at economic and competitiveness concerns when drafting new legislation.
Impact assessment affects all major Commission proposals, namely regulatory and other proposals having considerable economic, social and environmental impacts, proposals having a major impact on particular groups and proposals representing a major change or policy reform.
While only about half of the Commission’s major proposals were assessed in a period covering 2003 and 2004, all major items included in the Commission’s annual legislative and work programme are subject to impact assessment since the beginning of 2005. Since then, all work programme items must be accompanied by a roadmap, which should not only provide an estimate of the expected timetable for a proposal, but also provide more detailed information about how the impact assessment will be taken forward.
The new guidelines, which were published on 15 June 2005, replace the “Impact Assessment in the Commission – Guidelines” and the “Handbook for Impact Assessment in the Commission – How to do an Impact Assesment”. As compared to those, the new guidelines stress the importance of economic and competition aspects when assessing new legislation. They also provide more detail on estimating the administrative burden that new proposals would put on citizens’ and enterprises’ shoulders. And finally, they advise EU officials to look into achieving objectives without regulation.