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13 May 2013

To combat bureaucracy, use emails (France)

In France, the smart regulation policy has for many years relied on measures specifically aimed at improving "the relationship between the government and the citizens". See for instance the seminal text of Law 2000-321 of 12 April 2000 which introduced several lasting improvements. On 2 May, the governament tabled a bill in Parliament empowering the government to further simplify the relationship, as part of the modernisation policy announced on 18 December. See official media release after the Council of Ministers.
Subject to a go-ahead from Parliament, the Government will be empowered to draft and enact a code on relations between the administration and the public. This code will consolidate all of the rules of administrative procedure which are now difficult to access or ascertain because they are jurisprudential or scattered among various texts. In addition, the Government will be allowed to simplify the current rules to harmonise and simplify them. The bill also carries three specific measures. Perhaps the most significant one is the creation of a right for citizens to file an administrative claim or request by electronic means. Of course, the facility is already largely available, but in France, it is deemed better to make it into an additional right to ensure proper and uniform implementation, even at the cost of one more regulation.
For some good background on the measures, see Acteurs Publics comment entitled "emails against bureaucracy" which deems that in spite of its brevity, the new rule could introduce a revolutionary change in dealing with red tape.

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