With the Communication on Smart Regulation issued in October 2010, the European Commission tried to foster a better management of the whole policy cycle. According to that Communication, amending policy proposals must be preceded by an ex-post assessment of the current situation, allowing a “closing of the policy cycle”. This paper tries to answer the question whether the EU impact assessment (IA) system is fit to steer and close the policy cycle, and what is the relationship between ex-ante IA and ex-post evaluation on the ground so far. This is done via a macro and micro analysis, based on a scorecard approach and three case studies, comparing the EU’s IA system performance with a theoretical benchmark derived from the EU policy document and process. The paper concludes that the EU’s system, as it is currently designed and implemented, is not yet fit to steer and close the policy cycle. To achieve this goal, all the analytical and empirical layers of the policy cycle should be fully dealt with in the ex-ante phase.
Published in European Journal of Risk Regulation 4/2012
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