Better Regulation Watchdog sends open letter on EU wide ‘regulatory burden’ target

Thursday 10 December 2015

The Better Regulation Watchdog network (UNI Europa is founding member and part of the steering group) has on 10 December sent an open letter European Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans in response to a recent letter signed by Ministers from 19 Member States ahead of the 30 November Competitiveness Council, in which the signatories call for an EU wide target to cut regulatory burdens to businesses.

Members of the Watchdog network agree that the EU needs reforming in order to rise to global challenges and develop new sources of productivity. But the letter outlines a number of reasons why setting a target to reduce the burden of regulation is the wrong approach.

With global challenges ahead, the EU will be required to adopt new effective and often legally-binding policies. A blanket requirement to offset any new regulatory cost arising from such new policies by slashing costs elsewhere irrespective of the benefits arising would seriously hamper these efforts.

The organisations of the Better Regulation Watchdog also disagree on the premise that the EU regulatory system is overly burdensome and a major barrier to economic development – all the available evidence tells us that the benefits of regulation outweigh the costs.

Instead, the Better Regulation Watchdog network urges Vice-President Timmermans to take a more balanced approach to the much needed efforts to improve the EU regulatory system, by rejecting the setting of a quantitative target to reduce regulatory burdens, but also by ensuring that the long-term public benefits of regulatory action are given sufficient weight in political debate. Once in place, there also needs to be put more emphasis on ensuring that rules will be effectively enforced irrespective of whether they address competition law, pollution or workers and consumer protection.

Read the full letter here

Read an opinion piece by UNI Europa’s Christina Colclough the letter sent by 19 member states here

Learn more about the Better Regulation Watchdog here