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15 December 2011

Admin burden in EU: what next?

Last week the four European independent regulatory "watchdogs" in DK, NL, GE and UK have published an important joint paper entitled "The end of the Commission's action programme for reducing administrative burdens in the European Union - What comes next?"
These advisory bodies take the view that "in times of economic and financial crisis, political support for the EU is liable to decline. Transparent procedures and smart regulation are needed more than ever to drivecompetitiveness and support of the EU as a positive institution for growth.
They suggest that "the EU should continue to reinforce its programmes on smart regulation. As the Action Programme for reducing administrative burdens will end in 2012, a new programme needs to be developed to keep the momentum. Some progress has been made so far, but there is still quite a way to go. A change in the mindset, a cultural shift towards smart regulation as a basic prerequisite of proposed legislation has not yet been reached."
The paper draws lessons from the Smart Regulation agenda initiatives over the recent past: for admininistrative burdens, it notes the 31% reduction proposals from the Commission and recommends widening the scope of the programme to the overall regulatory burden; for impact assessments, it points at a number of "inconsistencies" of current efforts and suggests improvements in the consultation and quality check; to support progress, it recommends extending the mandate of the HLG of independent stakeholders ("Stoiber Group") to advise all three institutions on the full range of smart regulation issues.
For more see DG Enterprise and Industry site on smart regulation which includes a section on the Stoiber Group.

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