Important improvements to the IIA – yet warning sign is still up

Thursday 14 January 2016

The Better Regulation Watchdog of which UNI Europa is a founding member has released a press release today:

On December 8, 2015 the high-level negotiation team consisting of representatives from the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council finalised the new inter-institutional agreement.

Reacting to the outcome of the negotiations Christina Colclough, UNI Europa explains: “The Better Regulation Watchdog is happy to see that many of our criticisms have been addressed. The result is a significant improvement to the Commission’s proposal from May 2015. We note that although the Commission’s undue meddling in the democratic processes has not been nulled, it has been pushed back. Both the public consultation on adopted proposals and the idea of a panel with the aim to assess Parliament and/or Council “substantial amendments” to proposals have both been rejected. We also welcome the substantially improved demands to how impact assessments are made. Safeguarding democracy and making sure that assessments are made on a broad spectrum, and on the long term and not only the short term, is key to creating a sustainable, competitive and fairer Europe for generations to come.”

However, the Watchdog is concerned the door is left open for deregulation. “We regret that the agreement makes plentiful reference to ‘overregulation and regulatory burdens’ and introduces an annual burden survey. The option to quantify regulatory costs and consider sector targets to reduce them portrays regulation as necessarily problematic and essentially ‘wrong’. This is simply unacceptable. It is all very well to trim excessive red tape, but as the recent car emission scandal illustrates, REFIT must also aim to close loopholes in laws which are supposed to protect our health and environment and our rights as citizens, workers and consumers, but which fail to do so,” says Nina Renshaw from EPHA.

Overall, the Watchdog welcomes the fact that the Commission proposal has been considerably toned down, and thus is more protected from political whim. The Watchdog will continue to scrutinise the Better Regulation and REFIT agendas to ensure that European policy and regulation will work to the benefit of workers, consumers, citizens and the environment.

For further comments please contact the Watchdog Steering Group members:

Christina Colclough, UNI Europa (m): +32 471 93 67 51
Nina Renshaw, EPHA, (m): +32 498 54 07 65
Ursula Pachl, BEUC, (t):  +32 2 743 15 91
Joost Mulder, Finance Watch, (m): +32 484 54 27 11
Paul De Clerk, FOEE, (m): +32 494 38 09 59
Pieter de Pous, EEB, (t): +32 2 289 13 06
David Hafner, ÖGB, (t): +32 2 230 74  63