Enterprise and Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen has announced that every single one of the 900 pieces of EU legislation currently in the pipeline will be reviewed against their costs and benefits for the EU economy, and removed if necessary.
Enterprise and Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen has announced what is being presented as sweeping new plans to cut administrative burdens on businesses as a way to kick-start the EU economy.
Presenting the initiative to the press on 16 March, Verheugen made the equation look simple: “less red tape = more growth“.
As a consequence, Verheugen said that legislation which puts excessive administrative burden on businesses, and SMEs in particular, will be systematically screened, potentially to be modified later or withdrawn altogether.
This will be “my number one political priority” and “hobby horse for the next five years,” he told journalists.
There are currently 900 pieces of legislation pending before the Council and Parliament which need to be screened. But existing rules will also receive attention, Verheugen said, citing medical appliances, pesticides and waste disposal as examples of legislation which will be looked at.
For these, “modification or repeal of the legislation will be considered“. A list of 17 pending and existing specific pieces of legislation, which will be targeted as initial priorities, has been made public.
The aim is to “strike the right balance between the costs and benefits of legislation” by making systematic use of impact assessments. Assessments will be evaluated against what Verheugen described as an “economically focused” Lisbon process and a “broad strategy for sustainable development”.
However, a crucial aspect Verheugen highlighted will be to involve member states in the process as was already suggested by the Commission in the new Lisbon strategy.
“According to a British study, 80% of the red tape encumbering the European economy does not come from Brussels but from the capitals – quite simply because EU directives are implemented in an unnecessarily bureaucratic fashion,” Verheugen said.
“We propose that ‘better regulation’ should be an integral component of the new national Lisbon action plans and that a high-level working party comprising experts from the EU and the member states should be set up to promote a common agenda”.