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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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  )