The Better Regulation Agenda has made considerable inroads into the EU policy process since 2002, especially in the European Commission. Over the past 15 years, the European Commission has committed to higher standards of stakeholder consultation; the ex ante impact assessment of major policy initiatives; the monitoring and ex post evaluation of existing policies; and the analysis of entire policy areas (in REFIT and Cumulative Cost Assessment exercises). All in all, it is fair to say that although there is room for improvement, the European Commission stands out as a champion of better regulation at the global level, certainly ahead of most, if not all, EU member states.
The European Commission relaunched its commitment to better regulation by proposing further improvements in 2015, which could strengthen the accountability, transparency, and effectiveness of the Commission’s action. Later developments have led to additional novelties such as the ‘innovation principle’, ‘innovation deals’ and an insightful Commission Communication on better regulation for innovation-driven investment. The 2015 better regulation package also came with a proposal for a new Inter-Institutional Agreement on Better Regulation, which later led to the agreement between Commission, Parliament and Council on a new, important Inter-Institutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking.
These efforts must now be fully implemented, and it will take some more time to see the full package at work. At the same time, some scholars have criticised the reform for not being more ambitious, for example for not incorporating more advanced and experimental methodologies, or creating more balance in the input received from stakeholders. Moreover, there are still concerns about the ability of the Commission to cope with the increased workload without losing quality and oversight in its actions, especially for what concerns the choice of which of the thousands of implementing and delegated acts to subject to impact analysis and stakeholder consultation.
Against this background, CEPS proposes to convene a Task Force on Better Regulation in the EU, which will be structured around a series of 4-5 meetings and will produce a report with detailed policy recommendations on the future of the better regulation agenda. The tentative timeframe for the proposed Task Force is September-December 2017.
The Chairman of this Task Force is Malcolm Harbour CBE, Former MEP.
Schedule and meetings
The proposed topics to be covered by the Task Force are the following (the list may change after consulting with Task Force participants):
1st Meeting (September 2017): Better regulation in the European Commission (1)
- Methods used for impact assessment, and variations in methodology across DGs
- Stakeholder consultation: the REFIT stakeholder platform and other channels for consultation throughout the policy process
- How to ensure balance in stakeholder consultation by allowing all affected stakeholders to voice their opinions on proposed and existing EU policies
- Specific policy areas: presentations
2nd Meeting (October 2017): Better regulation in the European Commission (2)
- Implementing and delegated acts: how to achieve more transparency and evidence-based policy
- The role of risk analysis in the European Commission’s impact assessment
- Innovation, precaution, experimentation: how to make EU regulation more adaptive?
- Should better regulation be more closely linked to the ten priorities and the sustainable development goals?
- Specific policy areas: presentations
3rd Meeting (November 2017): Better regulation in other EU institutions
- Assessing the opportunities and challenges of the Inter-Institutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking
- The EPRS turns 5: how to make it more impactful in its work?
- Will the Council even have own capacity to perform policy appraisal? Should it focus on impacts on member states?
- Should the European Parliament and the Council reach out more to stakeholders, and how?
- Case studies
4th Meeting (December 2017): Better regulation in member states
- Beyond RegWatch: the state of better regulation in the EU27
- Improving the input of member states in the impact assessment, ex post evaluation and REFIT processes
- Implementation, compliance and better regulation in member states: looking for improvements in the delivery phase
- Better regulation and the European Semester
All meetings will take place at CEPS premises in Brussels, with a monthly frequency, and will be full day meetings running approximately from 9.30am through to 5pm.
The Task Force will be moderated by Andrea Renda, CEPS Senior Research Fellow and Head of Regulatory Policy. The Regulatory Policy Unit at CEPS will provide research and organisational support alongside CEPS administrative staff.
For further information contact Senior Research Fellow Andrea Renda.