ETUC response, in cooperation with EPSU, to the Commission’s Consultation on “smart regulation”
The European Commission has launched an internet consultation open to all stakeholders aiming to collect input for a Communication on smart regulation planned for the autumn. It will build on the work that has already been carried out by the Commission under the name of better
regulation, and present the priorities for the future.
According to the Commission, smart regulation is about “delivering results in the least burdensome way” and “quality of new initiatives is an essential part of the better regulation agenda”.
However, shifting responsibilities or costs to other actors, or giving priority to lighter forms of regulation does not lead to a better regulatory framework. The problem is not too much regulation, it is rather the sometimes poor quality in terms of clarity, consistency and accessibility, followed by a lack of compliance with legal acts in Member States
The financial crisis has highlighted the lack of regulation of the financial sector and the BP oil spill accident in the US has also raised questions about the regulatory framework. Both examples show the need for effective regulation.
Instruments such as impact assessment can be helpful in reaching a better regulatory framework, but should not be used as an excuse to impose a business-focused, deregulatory agenda. Smart regulation should be about qualitative legislation that can and will achieve its aims, but smart regulation requires sufficient administrative capacity. Member States must ensure that implementing and enforcing authorities possess such capacity at all levels. The effects of the current cuts in public sector jobs and wages on the quality of regulations and administrative capacity will need to be closely watched.
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