NNR is actively involved in better regulation efforts, at both EU and OECD level. NNR sometimes acts independently at EU level, but it frequently acts through BusinessEurope. NNR participates in BusinessEurope’s Better Regulation Working Group. In wider international contexts, NNR also cooperates with the BIAC Governance and Regulatory Policy Committee, including participation in OECD Regulatory Policy Committee meetings.
Better regulation efforts in the EU
The European Commission is responsible for planning, preparing and proposing new EU legislation and policies. These efforts are based on the European Commission’s annual work programme.
The European Commission prepares impact assessments for important legislation and underlying regulations. The first step is usually a description of what is to be prepared, in the form of a road map. Road maps are also used when there are plans to evaluate existing legislation. If it is understood that the impact will be major, an initial impact assessment will be prepared instead, describing the proposal and possible solutions. The European Commission’s Regulatory Scrutiny Board is the body that examines the quality of the European Commission’s impact assessments, evaluations and fitness checks. Impact assessments and opinions from the board are published online once the European Commission has adopted the proposal.
During the regulatory process, the European Commission will consult affected stakeholders. Guidelines and tools are available for such consultations. In addition to offering an opportunity to submit comments on early draft proposals, the European Commission also holds public consultations.
The opportunities for consultation are described in more detail on the European Commission website ‘Contribute to law-making’, which also contains a link to ‘Have your say’, a web page created by the European Commission to collect views on new EU policies and existing laws. The latter also contains a link to ‘Have your say: Simplify!’, a web page where citizens and businesses can suggest how to simplify and modernise existing EU legislation. To obtain advice and recommendations on better regulation and on simplification and unnecessary cost reduction potential, the European Commission has established an advisory group, the Fit for Future Platform, consisting of a stakeholder group and a group for member states. This platform replaces the former REFIT platform.
The EU’s evaluation system is made up of systematic evaluations of individual rules combined with more extensive fitness checks of several interrelated laws or policies. Legislative proposals often contain a clause regarding the monitoring of the regulatory framework. In its guidelines on better regulation, the European Commission has also included an ‘evaluate first’ principle before new regulations are proposed. The Commission has furthermore, starting with its work program for 2022, introduced a one-in, one-out principle. This principle means that newly introduced burdens are to be offset by removing equivalent burdens in the same policy area.
The better regulation efforts are manifested in various parts of the EU decision-making process, which is shown in the following image:
Source: European Commission
Further details on the European Commission’s better regulation efforts and its goals for these efforts are available here on the European Commission website. Guidelines and tools for these efforts have been developed and are available here. The better regulation guidelines apply to all steps in the law-making process and set out the principles with which the European Commission should comply when preparing new initiatives and when managing and evaluating existing legislation.
An Interinstitutional agreement on better law-making (IIA) has been agreed by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council regarding better regulation. According to the agreement, the European Council and the European Parliament will also make impact assessments of substantial amendments to the original proposal.
The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has an impact assessment unit that reviews the European Commission’s impact assessments and offers the European Parliament committees to make impact assessments of any substantial amendments to the European Commission’s proposals.
So far, the European Council has not made any impact assessments on its proposals for substantial amendments.
The NNR is actively striving to drive the development of the EU’s better regulation efforts and to contribute concrete improvements regarding EU legislation and associated procedures. NNR presents its views on the EU’s better regulation efforts and makes proposals on how these efforts can be further improved in NNR’s agenda for the EU’s work on Better Regulation 2019–2024
Before Fit for Future’s work program for the year 2022, NNR compiled and submitted several proposals for improvements to EU legislation and the process around it to the Fit for Future platform, see Proposals for improvement and simplification of EU Legislation and VAT rules with the aim and purposes of Union insolvency law. The last-mentioned VAT proposal as well as another proposal for simplification regarding VAT conveyed to the platform by NNR via BusinessEurope. ”Coordinate rules on VAT bad debt relief” were included in the platform’s 2022 work program and in the opinion ”Enterprise friendly VAT in the Digital Age”.
Jointly with its members, NNR also submits views on matters and EU legislative initiatives that are included in the platform’s annual work programme. These matters andlegislative initiatives are then subject to discussions and opinions of the platform.