This independent blog collects news about projects or achievements in regulatory reform / better regulation. It is edited by Charles H. Montin. All opinions expressed are given on a personal basis.
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26 May 2014

Institution-building for regulatory reform in MENA

The group having a break (photo: Ayman)
Three years after the beginning of the Arab spring, it was a good idea to take stock of current initiatives to improve economic governance in the MENA region, reflect on their relevance and make suggestions as to channels of further progress.
Such was the ambition of a workshop organised by the university of Granada, at the initiative of Jesus Florido Banqueri, former director of INSTEA, who is also the director for MENA of SICIDOMINUS, a consulting firm leading many governance projects in the MENA and Europe regions.
The workshop was part of the 4th Master's course in Public Governance in the Arab World, designed for middle-rank public officials from MENA countries.
Your blogger was honoured to participate by contributing views on "International Cooperation in Economic Institutions Building in the MENA Region." This was an opportunity to present the contribution of institutions to Regulatory Reform, and to draw up a list of international organisations (OECD, World Bank...) and initiatives (Deauville Partnership, Open Government Partnership, EuroMed...) aiming at building such capacities in MENA. Participants agreed that the multiplicity of donors, their differing objectives and procedures, posed a challenge for national officials seeking to tap the potential of international expertise to support the necessary economic reforms in their countries.
Some of the slides are made available on this blog.
For more on the topic, see a January 2014 "quick note" from the World Bank: "Strengthening Governance and Institutions in MENA: issues and priorities."

Deregulation on the agenda for Iraki KRG judges

Following up on previous workshops held in Erbil and Granada in 2012, a new session was held in Ankara earlier this month to complete a cycle of professional training in legislative drafting for judges of the Kurdish region of Iraq (KRG). Funded by the World Bank, supported by the Turkish government and moderated by your blogger (C.H. Montin), this workshop brought together the same judges belonging to the Shura Council (Consultative Assembly) of the KRG and a team of international experts. The judges and experts exchanged information and views focused on the "cutting edge" of better regulation: deregulation techniques supporting the improvement of the regulatory environmnent of business. Course members actively discussed the relevance of national practice of neighbouring countries (Lebanon and Turkey) as well as advanced legislative techniques presented by D. Macrae (UK) and E. Maurice (Lithuania), and sought to draw lessons for their own work. The course was given a practical illustration by visits to the Turkish Constitutional Court and Council of State. Among the techniques examined at this session the most promising were held to be: the "guillotine", statute law revision and in-built review and sunset clauses. Some of the moderator's slides on "Techniques" and "Deregulation" are also made available on this blog.
For a very good introduction to the subject matter, see "Tools and Approaches to Review Existing Regulations" published by the World Bank which gives an overview of the numerous techniques and good examples of their implementation.

Swedish report on regulatory cooperation

H. Lund, senior adviser in the Swedish Board of Trade, draws our attention to an interesting new report which contributes to one of the most challenging dimensions of regulatory cooperation. The following is a quote from a Board's news report:
Free movement of goods and services are increasingly dependent on preventing and eliminating technical barriers. Therefore, technical barriers to trade between the EU and the U.S. are a key issue in the ongoing free trade agreement negotiations, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This is also established in the National Board of Trade's new report "Regulatory Co-operation and Technical Barriers to Trade within Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)".
The report has been produced as a contribution to the negotiations and highlights the regulatory aspects of TTIP. It outlines how the regulatory systems for trade in goods is structured in the EU and the U.S. and provides an analysis how TTIP relates to the WTO legal framework and existing free trade agreements. The report also includes an analysis of how TTIP can affect five selected sectors: automotive, information- and communication technology (ICT), chemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
The challenge in the negotiations consists of finding the level of regulatory cooperation that offers clear benefits in terms of enhanced trade opportunities between the U.S. and the EU. This, while legitimate interests such as health and safety are maintained and while observing that trade conditions with third countries are not impaired. An important part of the analysis is to clarify the Swedish interests and estimate the extent to which they coincide with the interests put forward by various stakeholders in the EU.

Simplification: the new French government's priorities

A new government was appointed by President Hollande on 31 March under the leadership of Mr Manuel Valls, former minister of the interior, and the most popular minister in the previous government. What difference will that make to the Better Regulation policy in France.
Some answers are provided by the communication of the Council of Ministers of 30 April, which in essence extends the previous reform policies, under the headline goal of "implementation of the simplification shock". Here is a summary of the new orientations:
- "The modernization should be business-oriented , but cater also to the citizens": there is a strong vocal component of the Socialist party who do not want a priority for a business-oriented agenda, hence this well-balanced outlook;
- The "simplification factory": the Mandon - Poitrinal report launched the idea which is supposed to increase both the speed and intensity of the simplification shock;
- Consultation: the communication highlights the work of the Simplification Council established in January (50 proposals being implemented);
- "Project facilitators" in each d├ępartement (100 in France) are entrusted with simplifying the relationship between government and business (no details given); 
- Legal simplification: a law dated 2 January 2014 empowers the Government to simplify and secure the operation of businesses; a new bill will further delegate to Government the simplifications of primary legislation; 
- A moratorium similar to the "One-In, One-out" in force since September 2013 will be applied to primary legislation, with benefits and costs of new legislation carefully screened; 
- Lex silencio to be given full authority from November 2014 for central administration and November 2015 for local authorities.
- This national proactive approach to simplification needs to be extended to the European level, says the report.

Egypt's ERRADA resumes its mission

After a 20 month interruption, the Egyptian Regulatory Reform and Development Activity (ERRADA) announced its re-activation as of March 2014 , in order to review regulations related to the business environment. Under new leadership, the agency will aim to complete the inventory and the review of related topics affecting the business climate, and establish a database service and an electronic registry compiling all applicable regulations. 
In doing so, the agency will promote the tools of Better Regulation, specially RIA (regulatory impact assessment) and ex-post evaluation, addressing respectively the flow and stock of regulation. For more, see on ERRADA site the announcements by the minister in charge and the executive director of ERRADA, Tarek Hamza. See also this blog's 2012 post on ERRADA.