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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30 November 2015

New textbook on regulatory policy

Earlier this month, OCDE published a new reference book for members of our community: the first edition of the OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2015. This magnum opus summarizes 10 years of experience in designing and applying better rules and regulations to achieve economic and societal policy objectives. A press release summarizes the approach and the main conclusions, but experts will need to download the full material, which includes, to illustrate and give practical impact to each dimension (RIA, simplification, regulatory costs, etc), best national practices.

(From the press release): "The report finds that 33 of the 34 OECD countries have adopted an explicit regulatory policy and require regulatory impact assessments and public consultation for all new regulations, while 29 have a designated minister to promote regulatory reform.
However, a third of OECD countries have no policy at all on regulatory compliance and enforcement, and two-thirds have no system for evaluating laws once they are implemented. This creates unnecessary costs for businesses and society, the report says.
Internationally, co-operation in law-making is essential for creating global rules and standards, addressing trade frictions and environmental risks, and reducing the risk of regulatory failures such as the 2008 financial crisis or the recent VW emission tests scandal. Yet only a third of OECD countries have a clear policy for international regulatory co‑operation."

Joint letter pressing EC for sectoral redution targets

The Competitiveness Council is holding today 30 November a meeting where ways and means of speeding up reforms to the single market are expected to be discussed and perhaps agreed. A widely supported initiative from the UK, now uniting 19 of the Member States including France and Germany, is spelling out the reform agenda in a joint letter dated 26 November now published in final format, to assist VP Timmermans achieve consensus on the way forward.
A blog post dated 1 October summarizes the letter with useful comments and incidentally shows the outcome of some last-minute lobbying by the UK, including the notion that "Britain is pushing for a series of EU reforms, as the price for Prime Minister David Cameron's support for continued membership of the bloc in the "Brexit" referendum. He has called for measures to improve EU regulation, reducing administrative costs for businesses, and to bolster the bloc's competitiveness." They include the idea of sectoral targets ("EU reduction targets in particularly burdensome areas.") Our thanks to Julian Farrel for pointing out this relevant initiative. See also EC website on Better Regulation.

10 September 2015

Better Regulation still needs to convince Health stakeholders

Health community representatives seem far from convinced by the EC's Better Regulation policy, if those who spoke at the EPHA conference last week are to be believed.
Ms Christina Colclough, from UNI Europa (trade union for private employees) told how "disappointed" her organisation was with BR for not tackling the main challenges to Europe, including that of raising social standards.
Ms Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth, regretted that an excessive focus on administrative burdens, instead of the benefits of legislation, which made the EC's agenda look like a Business Europe position.
Ms Florence Berteletti, director of Smokefree Partnership, reminded the audience that industry lobbies were behind the adoption of RIA, a thesis researched by Dr Katherine Smith, in a report launched in the European Parliament in 2010 (see blog post).
On the other hand DG Santé representative and your blogger were given the time to defend a more positive reading of the recent Commission BR package, and Ms Tamsin Rose (Friends of Europe think-tank), pointed out that BR should reduce the irrationality of policy-making. 
Moderator Nina Renshaw, secretary general of EPHA, was able to wrap-up with some forward-looking conclusions:
- BR and RIA were an opportunity that the Health stakeholders should embrace and make heard the voice of their communities in the policy-making process at EU level. 
- the cost of doing nothing option should always be assessed (such as the cost of doing nothing to provide health care to migrants)
- BR should be used to increase the accountability of politicians when pursuing policies not supported by evidence.
See also post on calling the conference (below).

04 August 2015

Better Regulation to support better health

Better Regulation has always found in Health issues a rich terrain to test the effectiveness of the solutions it offers the economy and society. See the 23 posts of this blog under the Health category.
Our community will have a new opportunity to identify current trends and update our principles and tools, at the Annual conference of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), "Europe's leading NGO advocating for better health," to be held in Brussels on 2-3 September 2015.
The theme of the conference "Towards a European Union for Health - From Health in All Policies to EU Governance for Health and Well-Being?" will give rise to a number of panels and discussions, including one entitled: "Better Regulation for Better Health? Mainstreaming public health into the EU's agenda." The conumdrum is defined as: "Better Regulation is now an even greater priority for the European Commission through the REFIT process. Where does this leave broader issues of labour rights, health and safety, environmental protection or public goods that are perceived as sources of administrative burdens? "
Your blogger has been invited to speak, presumably to explain the benefits of BR to a panel and audience probably impatient with simplification and burden reduction efforts (judging by the wording of the issue). 
Also follow Alberto Alemanno, the great risk and regulation expert, who will fly our colours in the session on "Europe and Chronic Diseases : challenges accepted, lessons learned, ways forward"
Stay tuned for the outcome by visiting http://goo.gl/Ec51QS @EPHA_EU

04 July 2015

New Regulatory Scrutiny Board (EC)

The Regulatory Scrutiny Board provides a central quality control and support function for Commission impact assessment and evaluation work. It was set up on 1 July 2015 and replaced the Impact Assessment Board.
The Board examines and issues opinions on all the Commission's draft impact assessments and of major evaluations and "fitness checks" of existing legislation. In principle, a positive opinion is needed from the Board for an initiative accompanied by an impact assessment to be tabled for adoption by the Commission. The opinion accompanies the draft initiative together with the impact assessment throughout the Commission's political decision-making. All impact assessments and all related RSB opinions are published once the Commission has adopted the relevant proposal. Evaluation/"fitness check" reports and the related opinions are also published.
The Board is independent of the policy making departments. It is chaired at Director General level. In addition to the Chair, the Board consists of three high-level Commission officials and three members who are recruited from outside the Commission, selected on the basis of their expertise. All members work for the Board full time, with no other policy responsibilities. Until all members of the Board have been appointed, the members of the previous Impact Assessment Board will act as interim members of the Board.
More information on the structure and functioning of the Board can be found in the Better Regulation package documents 'Decision on the Establishment of an Independent Regulatory Scrutiny Board'

01 July 2015

RIA in Ireland, ten years on

Tom Ferris, a Consultant Economist, recaps current practice and implementation of RIA over the pas ten years on his blog (also on tinyurl.com/pai-ria ) . He suggests that there is room for improvement, as we enter a second decade "In 2010, the OECD published a report on Better Regulation in Ireland. One of its conclusions was that the RIA process in Ireland continued to operate within a weak institutional framework which does not sufficiently "scare" departments into co-operating for the production of quality RIAs. Against this background, there is a good case to be made for having a central RIA scrutiny facility, which publishes its findings, similar to the EU's Regulatory Scrutiny Board. This would help to ensure that RIAs fulfil quality standards. There is little point in having RIAs produced merely as a box-ticking exercise. Their true value lies in helping Government to make decisions by providing evidence-based RIAs, which measure the positive and negative effects of different options for regulatory change."

New book on How to Work with EU

Message from Erick Akse, a regulatory reform expert close to our network who is co-author of the 2nd edition of this best-seller:
"Dear fellow-networkers, 
I am very proud that I can announce that my second book on EU Decision-Making is now available. You will find it in many bookshops in Brussels with a clear EU-orientation. Of course, it is also available in online bookstores. 
It is a highly practical guidebook for everyone that works with or is interested in the functioning of the European Union. The book has a proven track record since it is the second edition of a much-valued first publication
The book describes how the EU Institutions function; explains the most often used legislative process, the OLP, for adopting EU legislation; shows how Delegated and Implementing Acts are developed and approved; and combines the institutional and procedural information with practical information on how to work with the EU Institutions and EU Decision-Making"

Job opportunities for regulatory experts

1/Washington (World Bank)
Network friend and top RR expert Peter Ladegaard has points us to an advertised position of Senior Regulatory Governance Specialist, a Washington DC based job anchored in the World Bank's new Governance Global Practice's Regulatory Policy and Management Team. 
"The selected candidate's work program is expected to focus on a combination of knowledge management and client-facing, operational activities. In particular, the candidate will take a leading role in developing and delivering activities under the donor-funded Good Regulatory Practice Program, which will assess and further adapt tools to improve the governance dimension of good regulatory practices. This will involve knowledge development and pilots in areas including Notice-and-Comment, Regulatory Impact Assessment, and to some extent indicators of Good Regulatory Practices."
Full job description and application link on page mentioned above.

2/ Beirut (EU-funded simplification project).
ACE International Consultants is looking for a regulatory reform long term expert based in Beirut to work on the project reported on several occasions on this blog. See November 2014 post for all details about the project. The position is that of key expert on the technical assistance team.
To apply, contact ACE.

03 June 2015

The way forward, viewed from the top (OECD Forum)

(Photo above: Pres. Hollande from France addresses Forum). 
The second day of the 2015 OECD Forum (3 June) had been organised back-to-back with the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, which saves travel costs and allows delegates to engage high ranking decision makers. As on the first day, the event also offered rich opportunities to explore current trends and network in a variety of attractive formats (i. a. "meet-the-author", "idea factories", "talk together,"  project presentations). Regarding the plenary sessions, the morning slots were devoted to the presentation and discussion of resources compiled and calculated by OECD, chiefly the 2015 economic outlook. These new elements fed into a discussion on structural reforms, which tried to identify the main factors for stimulating investment while pursuing  sustainable and inclusive growth objectives. The second morning session addressed investment in human capital: its conclusions were consensual but predictable (education...) in spite of the efforts of the moderator.
The highlight of the day was naturally the session on Unlocking Growth, with President Hollande (France) and PM Rutte (the Netherlands) taking centre stage, with questions from ministers in a discussion moderated by SG Gurria himself. Both orators were brilliant in combining the competing requirements of sustainability, environment preservation and social inclusiveness in investment policies. Solutions needed to be defined in common (at the European level for countries of that region), and other international fora such as the coming Paris conference on climate change (COP21).

02 June 2015

New challenges for better regulation (OECD Forum)

Your blogger attended the first day of the 2015 OECD Forum, where "leaders and influencers ...  gather to debate the most pressing social and economic challenges confronting society." This year's instalment was not directly connected to regulation, but this was not a reason to stay away: we smart regulators do not work in a vacuum, we try to apply or skills to assist governments and regulators in achieving all regulatory outcomes, so it is necessary now and again to take a look at the bigger picture. And the general theme "Investing for the future: people, planet, prosperity" promised to cover all the major challenges confronting policy makers. Please refer to the OECD Forum website for excellent introductory statements and access to resources, my comments are limited to what may interests regulators.
1. The session on "Unlocking investment" naturally examined the role of regulation for fostering the right investment climate . But 80% of participants (polled instantly) thought a return to pre-crisis levels would not come from regulation. Though compliance costs were mentioned as a hindrance to investment, it seemed to me that better regulation policies and tools were not sufficiently well-known. The panel and audience seemed to put more faith in bringing about  a public-private dialogue ensuring a co-ordinated approach between the private and public sectors to develop a new investment culture, where social goals would be on a par with profit. Innovative business models, and Social impact investment approaches were a prime example of that trend. See also blog by Eric Solheim, chairman of the OECD Development Assistance Committee.
2. The Trade & Investment for development session examined how countries could unlock the full growth-inducing potential of trade, which has not retrieved its pre-crisis levels. Speakers agreed that FTA were no longer focused on tariffs, but increasingly addressed NTBs, mainly of regulatory origin. Prime examples of the trend were the  TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and TTP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). Much attention was given to the fragmentation of markets resulting from NTBs, with the ensuing increase in compliance costs (such as mutiple national certification procedures for the same product) and loss of trading possibilities, with corresponding reduced growth estimated at 2% of GDP. Removal of these obstacles could greatly benefit SMEs, as was shown from NZ and CZ examples, who could participate much more in Global Value Chains. More than ever, regulatory coherence was necessary. A new challenge for governments, especially in developing countries, was also to preserve the quality of investment, i.e. that it contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth, and not seek immediate profit.
3. The session on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) only rarely touched on regulatory issues but provided a prime example of an integrated policy inspired by international consensus and facing all the challenges of implementation that better regulators are familiar with. The discussion therefore covered very familiar territory: the main challenge, said one of the speakers, was political will  (the audience voted - by 38% - the lack of measurability as the top obstacle), lack of accountability and transparency of governments in pursuing non-binding commitments, need for more evidence-based decisions with data-collection strategies. It was quite surprising, even touching, to note the extent to which the private sector (including multinationals) vowed to support these mainly social goals, apparently to build a good reputation.

01 June 2015

New batch of simplification measures (France)

In France, regulatory policy nearly equates with administrative simplification, which itself heavily relies on e-government. Pursuing its 30-year tradition of announcing large batches of S-decisions, the Government announces today 1 June a new set of 92 red-tape reduction measures. All media report the launch (see for instance France Bleue) though little is yet on the official websites.
A summary of the policy is given in an undated article on France.fr. For a more official business oriented introdution and archive, see entreprises.gouv.fr
It is a new instalment of the 2013 "simplification drive" but more general public oriented than previously. Out of the total of 92 new measures , 40 are designed to make life easier for citizens, for instance:
• Written decisions by public bodies will be more stringently required to be drafted in language 'easy to read and understand';
• From September if you need to sign on as a jobseeker at the Pôle Emploi you will be able to do so directly online rather than filling in forms at one of the centres;
• From the end of June people will be able to check driving test results online rather than waiting for a letter, and download a provisional licence on to their phones. Contesting a speed camera fine will also be possible online;
• By the end of the year a new dedicated site will be in place to get information on court cases and on obtaining legal aid. 
• Applications for (means-tested) grants (bourses) to help with children's schooling will be possible online;
• Several measures are targetted at the disabled public with easier access to benefits and less frequent renewals of permits.

Eurasian RIA guidelines now online

The Eurasian Economic Community now has a RIA page with resources in English for guidance or comparative purposes.
Up to now, this blog was the only place where this information had been published, thanks to our friend D. Tsygankov (see post dated 10 March 2015 for a summary).

What's new in EC Better Regulation?

Top BR expert Tom Ferris (Ireland) has just published a perceptive analysis of the recent evolution of smart regulation at the EU level on the occasion of the new package announced on 19 May (reported in our 20 May post). Thank you Tom !

20 May 2015

Azerbaijan officials study RIA techniques

On 18-19 May, 17 officials from mainly economic ministries and one from Parliament participated in a capacity building workshop for the development of regulatory impact assement (RIA) in Azerbaijan ministries. 
The main purpose of the workshop (which was moderated by your blogger CH Montin) was to take stock of existing RIA in Azerbaijan and to lay the ground for making better use of this aid to government decision making. Over the two day programme, course members were able to pratice the skills required at crucial stages of RIA process, such as defining the problem/issue and the options, assessing the impacts, presenting the integrated analysis of the preferred option. It was made clear that both the evidence base and the consultation process needed to be significantly improved if the full potential of RIA was to be achieved in Azerbaijan. Existing RIA-type scrutinies would need severe upgrading to meet international RIA standards. Special attention was given to the European Commission RIA scheme which in many ways is the most advanced model.
Some practical steps were presented to participants to jump-start a national RIA scheme:
- Issuing a high-level explicit Government statement on the importance of good quality RIA documents to be prepared for the most economically significant new legislations, and emphasizing the importance of effective consultation with stakeholders on draft legislation;
- defining a Azerbaijan RIA methodology after discussion based on international best practice, in particular as reported by OECD publications;
- building capacities in the ministries by freeing officials from other tasks to start practicing RIA on the basis if possible of current or past legislations;
- setting up an oversight body in charge of verifying the quality of RIAs before the corresponding draft legislation is finalised.
 (photo above post: the moderator with some of the course members.)

New EU Better Regulation package

(from yesterday's press release labelled: "Better Regulation Agenda: enhancing transparency and scrutiny for better EU law-making") 
"Today, 19 May, The European Commission adopts its Better Regulation Agenda. This comprehensive package of reforms covering the entire policy cycle will boost openness and transparency in the EU decision-making process, improve the quality of new laws through better impact assessments of draft legislation and amendments, and promote constant and consistent review of existing EU laws, so that EU policies achieve their objectives in the most effective and efficient way."
Compulsory reading for BR experts, but nothing much in the way of novelties. The confirmation of the existing scheme is however welcome, and the new expressing of political commitment encouraging.
Perhaps the best element is the annoucement of a new inter-institutional agreement to improve the use of RIA by cooperation with the other institutions.
There are also updates on the regulatory burdens and REFIT programmes launched under the previous commission, which are worth taking note of.
Finally, there is an announcement that the Commission's Impact Assessment Board, operating since 2006, will be transformed into 'an independent Regulatory Scrutiny Board'. This confirms what was announced by VP Timmermans in December 2014, and corresponds to some MS suggestions (see joint paper). "Its members will have a more independent status and half of them will be recruited from outside the Commission. The board will have an expanded role in checking the quality of impact assessments of new proposals as well as fitness checks and evaluations of existing legislation."

31 March 2015

Business groups review administrative burdens (UK)

Another good practice from the UK, showing how smart regulators can enlist and subsidize responsible stakeholder support to identify regulation in need of streamlining or deletion.
On 23 March, the British business minister (note the specific title) reported on the outcome of the Government's March 2014 invitation to industry groups such as trade associations to bid to lead one of 3 'pathfinder' reviews, allowing them to collect evidence of the impact on industry of current enforcement practices and challenge problems like duplicated paperwork, inconsistent advice or unhelpful guidance. The successful organisations each received a grant of up to £4,000 to contribute towards the costs of their projects. As a minimum, the review teams were required to match the funding from their own resources.
The press release summarizes the findings presented by participant organisations: Fresh Produce Consortium, National Farmers' Union (NFU) and techUK. It shows how these business groups made proposals respecting the benefits of regulation:
  • The Fresh Produce Consortium scrutinised imports of fresh produce into the UK. After carefully considering their findings, the Food Standards Agency will be taking a number of steps including reviewing official control turnaround times at airports and investigating disparities in the costs that are charged by Port Health Authorities for their inspections.
  • techUK have reviewed the export licensing of electronic products. The government's Export Control Organisation (ECO) will explore options to re-introduce their control list classification advice service to make it easier for businesses to know whether a product requires an export licence. They will also continue to pursue export licensing reforms aimed at providing businesses with more flexible licensing solutions which minimise the impact on the exporter and the regulator. This review was explicitly not permitted to make any recommendations on the UK's strict vetting and licensing system for military or dual-use products.
  • The National Farmers' Union examined livestock inspections and found issues with duplication of visits from different regulators and inconsistencies across the country in terms of the number of inspections. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have welcomed this important work and are considering what action to take.

Cost of delays included in regulatory costs (Australia)

This blog has regularly reported on the current discussion worldwide on what regulatory costs should be measured when considering new legislation (see regulatory costs category containing 46 posts). The best summary is available on the OECD "Measuring Regulatory Performance" page, which contains many useful resources including  the 2014 OECD Regulatory Compliance Cost Assessment Guidance.
A revised  guidance note on  "Regulatory burden measurement framework" has been issued in February by the Australian Office of Best Practice Regulation. The Australian approach targets a broad range of regulatory costs, to include substantive, or compliance costs in addition to the more commonly considered "administrative costs".
What is perhaps the newest is the section on "cost of delays", page 11 of the document, and copied below:
"Measuring delay costs is more complex and might not necessarily involve estimating labour costs or purchase costs. Often, once the regulation is implemented, delay costs could be considered as administrative costs, compliance costs, or both.
Delay costs should only be calculated when a business is waiting on government action to commence trading. For example, an entity may have to wait six months to obtain government approvals to sell a product on the Australian market. Where the entity is otherwise able to begin trading on the day it lodges its application, the delay costs comprise lost sales over the six-month approvals period. However, if the entity is not ready to commence trading until four months after lodging the application, the delay costs will comprise only two months of lost sales.
Delay costs are often incurred through the holding of land and capital. In these cases, you should be careful to consider what the business-as-usual case (that is, without the proposed regulation) is expected to be and whether the cost is a delay cost, a substantive compliance cost or an administrative cost. As an illustration of this distinction, consider a regulation that results in a business purchasing a machine but, as a result of an application delay, the machine sits idle for two months. The cost of the machine is not considered to be a delay cost, as the machine is needed to comply with the regulation, and would instead be a substantive compliance cost. However, the cost of the machine sitting idle is a delay cost and could be calculated as the loss of income incurred by the business as a result of the machine not being used."
A more detailed methodology on the measurement of the cost of delays in France was published by your blogger in 2007, and still online in the archive section.

26 March 2015

Reg. ref. to boost bilateral trade (Australia/Korea)

(Yonhap press release) "The Australian Embassy in Seoul on Friday (13 March) hosted a forum on regulatory reform and deregulation with the South Korean government in a bid to explore ways for cooperation in these areas, officials said.
The one-day forum titled the "Best Practice Regulation Workshop" came as Seoul and Canberra seek to boost cooperation in the field of regulatory reforms with a free trade agreement between South Korea and Australia (KAFTA) going into effect late last year.
"Services and investment are important parts of KAFTA, but they cannot reach their full potential unless the regulatory environment improves," Bill Paterson PSM, the Australian ambassador to Seoul, said at the opening of the forum.
"Predictability, transparency, consultation, consistent application, and cutting red-tape are essential and both our governments are committed to achieving a more business friendly regulatory environment," he added.
Kang Young-chul, deputy minister for regulatory reform, also said that "drastic reform is necessary for the success of regulatory reforms," adding that South Korea and Australia will continue to carry out cooperation in this sector.
South Korea said that it will scrap more than 100 administrative rules cited by local companies for hindering businesses as it seeks to prod more companies into increasing investment to jump-start the local economy.
Australia is in the process of reducing tape worth $1 billion every year in its drive for deregulation, the embassy said."

Red tape "worse than censorship and propaganda" (China)

For experts engaged in simplifying procedures and cutting red tape across the world, this article from the NY Times will bring some solace: there are always places where the bureaucracy is more corrupt, where reform seems impossible. The article shows how Chinese bureaucracy ensnares and paralyses its honest citizens in a maze of red tape, with dramatic but also funny consequences such as: unmarried women do not qualify for the birth permit; unregistered children cannot go to school, etc.

12 March 2015

Communicating regulatory reform (Egypt)

After a two  year interruption from June 2012, the  Egyptian Regulatory Reform and Development Activity (ERRADA) has been posting news on a regular basis and sharing valuable resources in English. It portrays how a MENA country can put to use the principles of better regulation in support of economic initiative and growth. Of special interest are the news section, reports on the methods used for inventory and review of regulations, with emphasis on those that affect business, and the RIA material, including a workplan for the introduction of RIA and guidelines for practitioners.
There is however still a long way to go for ERRADA, as Egypt only ranks 112th in the Doing Business 2015 ranking.

British regulatory watchdog publishes 5-year report

The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) published on 3 March a comprehensive report on its action since the beginning of this Parliamentary term. Since 2010 the regulatory watchdog has scrutinised over 1,200 regulatory proposals affecting business and civil society organisations, of which 951 became law. This resulted in the RPC issuing just over 2000 opinions on the quality of the evidence base supporting these proposals. It claims that this scrutiny led to the withdrawal or modification of draft legislation saving business £2.2 billion per year in administrative burdens.
In parallel, the RPC has just been strengthened with the appointment of four new members, while retaining its chairman Mr Michael Gibbons.

Commission unclutters EU legislative agenda

One of the most original features of the EU smart regulation policy, not often present at national level, is the periodic removal of older, outdated or obsolete  proposals from the legislative agenda, to be replaced by revised or more comprehensive initiatives more likely to be adopted by the legislators (Council and Parliament). This has been practiced regularly by the European Commission since the beginning of the better regulation initiative in the early 2000's. A new wave of "withdrawals of pending proposals" was announced by the EC on 7 March 2015 and is presented as a way to cut red tape and remove regulatory burdens, contributing to an environment conducive to investment. With fewer and more recently drafted proposals from the Commission on the table, the legislative procedure is supposed to be better focused and produce clearer rules.   From the press release: "The Commission decided the withdrawal of 73 pending legislative proposals, with the adoption of the Commission's Work Programme for 2015 on 16 December 2014. The list of withdrawn proposals has now been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. This confirmation of the withdrawals follows constructive discussions with the other institutions in which the Commission has heard their views. The Commission will continue to work on the implementation of its Work Programme in close partnership with the other institutions, including through the tabling of more ambitious and comprehensive proposals on the Circular Economy, after the withdrawal today of the Waste Package."

10 March 2015

Eurasian Commission spells out RIA method

Thanks to our friend D. Tsygankov (HSE, Moscow), we are kept informed about the progress of RIA in the Eurasian Economic Commission. We know that RIA became operational on 1 January 2015 in this "supranational regulatory body" formed between four ex-USSR countries, for a number of economic decisions (see post dated 31 December 2014).
Chapter IX  "Regulatory Impact Assessment of the Commission's draft decisions" of the EEC's rules is now available in an unofficial translation which has been sent to the blog for the information of international readers.  
The specific mechanism of the "Eurasian" RIA, including exclusions (RIA targeting), was discussed at the international workshop held last December in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation. Chapter IX defines the scope of the scheme, specifies which service is in charge of the research, outlines consultation obligations and most interestingly lists the various economic impacts that need to be measured. We would now need to see some of these RIAs published online for the instruction of RIA pratitioners worldwide.

23 February 2015

"Free market" law creates extra regulation (France)

In a post dated 1 February, this blog discussed the use of RIA in one of the most important pieces of new economic legislation, the "loi Macron" named after minister of economy Emmanuel Macron. After the vote last week in Parliament, which required the government to engage its full constitutional power to get it passed in spite of opposition from within its own ranks, Euractiv gives a clear account of the possible impact of this law designed to boost activity and growth, and concludes that the attempt to 'liberate' the economy 'ends up adding new regulation'. An extract from Euractiv (18 February): "designed to show the European Commission that France is serious about reform, will also submit parts of the economy to a glut of new regulations. The first chapter, meant to 'liberate' growth, has introduced a host of new rules, including new and even more complicated tariff structures for some regulated professions, for example notaries." A December article in the Economist also explains the French government's dilemma, caught between its socialist membership of believers in state intervention to redistribute wealth, and the constraints resulting from the European free market. It seems that again, in this catch-22 situation, extra bureaucracy has again been adopted as the way out. The RIA procedure did not apparently help in any way to secure the influence of rational economic decision.

03 February 2015

Impressive new resources for regulatory reformers

Below is a communication from top expert and inventor of the Regulatory Guillotine, Scott Jacobs, Managing Director of Jacobs, Cordova & Associates (Washington, DC). Your blogger is proud of his affiliation as Senior Associate with this reputed consultancy. 

Dear Colleagues:
We are pleased to announce that our new website on regulatory reform is now live at www.regulatoryreform.com.
I would like to point you to two new resources for regulatory reformers around the world:
A new international Forum on all aspects of regulatory reform from RIA to retrospective review to economic growth. The Forum is at http://forum.regulatoryreform.com/. You will need to register before you post. You can start new threads or comment on existing threads. The Forum includes topics where you can post events such as conferences, and also announcements for jobs and CVs by those looking for work. 
A RIA Resources page at http://regulatoryreform.com/ria-community/. This page contains hundreds of RIA-related documents from dozens of countries that have adopted RIA. We are actively expanding this page, so please send any new or missing documents to janda@regulatoryreform.com. We will also announce RIA news, so send any new initiatives or reports to us for inclusion. 
We hope you find these resources useful in your work. 
Best wishes, 
(end quote)

01 February 2015

Discussed but not published: French RIAs of draft legislation

If ever there was a law where an published impact assessment would be useful to support informed discussion, the "loi Macron" on "activity and growth" currently the focus of bitter recrimination in France, would certainly qualify.
Context: the French Socialist government, after three years of pro-trade union economic policies, now seems to want to realize a more liberal approach is necessary, to encourage business to invest and create jobs by lifting some of the administrative or legal hurdles. Two specially litigious measures (of the 200 contained in the bill) are the extension of Sunday trading facilities, and the opening up to competition of inter-city road transport (until now limited to preserve the national railway monopoly).
But the impact assessment is nowhere to be found online, though some of its more prominent contents are quoted by newspapers, following an AFP (news agency) despatch. It is a pity that the very complete dossier of parliamentary discussions uploaded by the National Assembly, does not contain the RIA that the Government is constitutionally bound to present with every bill tabled in Parliament. The National Assembly itself invites stakeholders to express their views online, but without giving them the text of the RIA.
RIAs are only published on Legifrance, the portal of French legislation, once the law has been voted.
Though the full text of the impact assessment is not available, most of its significant figures are quoted in the official parliamentary report produced by the National Assembly secretariat.
An AFP story recapitulates the discussion in Parliament from 26 January, stressing that two impact assessments conducted by an ad-hoc body originating from the Planning agency (!) concluded that the liberalization would have overall positive economic consequences.
Experts interested in a recent significant RIA "à la française" will look at the assessment, published on Legifrance, of a law to make life easier for business (law n° 2014-1545 dated 20 December 2014), which displays the usual features and limitations of French RIA. Rather than a study of the issue and various options, it focuses on the solution put forward by the Government, and appears more like a justification of adopted policy than an objective study of various reform proposals.
For a more complete picture of the features of French RIA, readers may refer to the RIA section (pp 14-16) of a study of BR in France by JCA Senior Associate CH Montin (written for and published by an Italian university), which shows that in France, RIA plays a very specific role in the relations between Parliament and Government, rather than a support to decision-making within Government.
See also a presentation given on several occasions, "New RIA in France: impacting policy making?" (all documents accessible also from http://www.smartregulation.net  )