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03 September 2013

New BR developments in France

Owing to its importance, it is worth returning to the news reported (in French) in a 31 July post about recent trends in regulatory policy in France, which are increasingly inspired by the principles of better regulation.
First of all, the two new policy documents are much more concisely drafted (two pages only), which considerably increases the clarity of their purpose. Both texts also insist on organising two-way communication with the users (the general public and the economic actors):
1/ the "protocol for relations with deconcentrated services" a title which unfortunately will not mean much for foreign colleagues, contains a new policy for communicating within government, in this case with (subnational) implementation levels. The most important novelty is to reserve the "circulaire" (ministerial guidance) for instructions for the implementation or public policy, in under 5 pages. Less formal guidance (such as information, clarification and methodological recommendations) should be interactive, offering FAQ and other cooperative channels. The new policy is interesting because it breaks with the classic tradition that circulaires were not allowed to contain any regulatory prescription. Now, they are to be expressly billed "instructions from the Government" for the sake of clearer communication.
2/ the circulaire on implementing the regulatory freeze (gel de la réglementation) is also inspired by the principles of better regulation. It calls for all new regulation to contribute to simplifying the existing stock and sets up a mechanism to avoid new regulatory burdens: new obligations must be offset by equivalent simplifications. The equivalence is to be judged both in quantitative and qualitative terms. To operate the scheme, RIAs are extended to most new regulatory drafts and a monitoring tool (by ministerial department) will be set up. RIA will specially target gold-plating and seek "proportionality" now defined as allowing flexible (smart) implementation according to "specific situations". Common commencement dates and a time lag granted for compliance measures will also reinforce "legal security."

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