Work in the EU
NNR is of the opinion that improved quality and simplification of European legislation alongside the reduction of costs to business of complying with regulation must remain a key priority for the EU institutions and Member States’ Governments.
Equally important is the continued commitment by the EU Commission to its smart regulation agenda. The Commission issued a communication ‘Smart Regulation in the European Union COM(2010) 543 final’ in October 2012 in which it states that “getting legislation right is essential if we are to deliver the ambitious objectives for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth set out by the Europe 2020 Strategy”. More information about this agenda and the Europe 2020 Strategy is available on http://ec.europa.eu/governance/better_regulation/index_en.htm and http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/index_en.htm
On 12 December
2012, The Commission launched a new programme called the ‘Regulatory Fitness
and Performance Programme (REFIT)’. The work programme builds on the
Commission’s work to reduce administrative regulatory costs but has a broader
scope. The starting point for REFIT is an exercise to map which regulations or
regulatory areas that are in greatest need of simplification, as well as a
reduction of regulatory costs for businesses and EU citizens. NNR, and
BusinessEurope, has previously communicated to the Commission that changes to
existing regulations have to be those that companies in Europe ask for.
The EU Commission does not intend to set another overall target for reducing regulatory costs but will instead look into if there is a need for individual targets for different areas of regulation. Furthermore, the Commission underlines that smart regulation is a shared responsibility between the Commission, the other EU institutions and the Member States. As NNR has pointed out in its work on ‘gold-plating’, the Member States have to take a greater responsibility for efficient implementation of both new EU legislation and simplification proposals that have been agreed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.
The EU Commission points out that certain smart regulation ’tools’ are of crucial importance including impact assessments and consultation with business and citizens. All work within the framework of REFIT will be carried out in an open and transparent way in order that stakeholders will be able to follow and contribute to it. Further information about the programme is available in the Commission’s communication COM(2012) 746/2 on:
NNR has expressed its support for the Commission’s ambitious smart regulation agenda. However, we will judge its success on the delivery of real, tangible results and improvements for business.
On 31 August 2007, the Commission set up the "High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens" to advise the Commission on simplification of regulation. On 13 September, Edmund Stoiber was appointed as the group's chair. The other members were appointed on 23 November 2007 and the group held its inaugural meeting on 17 January 2008.
The Members of the Group have first-hand experience in better regulation and cover the 13 policy areas in which administrative costs are being measured. The group includes the leaders of several bodies charged with fighting red tape at Member State level, representatives from industry, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), trade unions as well as environmental and consumer organisations. More information is available on http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/smart-regulation/administrative-burdens/high-level-group/index_en.htm
At national level, it
is of utmost importance for policy-makers to engage early in the EU legislative
process and carry out national impact assessments of EU Commission legislative
proposals before they are adopted. This is to ensure that Swedish
representatives are aware of the impacts on Swedish business of proposals
before they are debated at EU level. At present there is no obligation on
Swedish authorities to carry out such early national Impact Assessments.
National impact assessments of EU legislation are generally carried out at implementation stage. This is too late as it will no longer be possible to influence the structure and contents of legislation. Impact assessments should therefore be carried out by Swedish government departments and agencies at proposal stage and be used as a basis for negotiations in Brussels. This way, Swedish decision-makers would have a better idea of the impact that proposals are likely to have on business from the very initial stages of a legislative proposal.
BUSINESSEUROPE is the main horizontal business organisation at EU level. Through its 41 member federations, BUSINESSEUROPE represents 20 million companies from 35 countries. Its main task is to ensure that companies' interests are represented and defended vis-à-vis the European institutions with the principal aim of preserving and strengthening corporate competitiveness. BUSINESSEUROPE is active in the European social dialogue to promote the smooth functioning of labour markets. More information about BUSINESSEUROPE is available on http://www.businesseurope.eu
BUSINESSEUROPE’S work is organized by its seven main policy committees, each with a number of working groups, all composed of experts nominated by the member federations. The working groups debate proposed EU legislation and come to a consensus view of the impact on enterprises of these proposals. The views are issued as official BUSINESSEUROPE position papers (about 100 every year), and it is the task of the permanent staff at the BUSINESSEUROPE secretariat to ensure that these views are taken into account as legislation is decided.
NNR President, Jens Hedström, chairs the BUSINESSEUROPE Better Regulation Working Group. The Group includes representatives from all major European business organisations. In the area of better regulation, BUSINESSEUROPE seeks to:
- Promote application of better regulation principles at EU and national level;
- Achieve the goal of reducing administrative burdens generated by Community legislation with 25% by 2012;
- Ensure that better regulation remains a priority for the new Commission, and
- Better involve the European Parliament in using impact assessments and approve administrative burden reduction proposals.
More information is available on http://www.businesseurope.eu/content/default.asp?PageID=587