Impact Assessments in the EU: room for improvement? - European Union Committee Contents


On 28 January 2009, the Commission published the Third Strategic Review of Better Regulation in the European Union. The House of Lords European Union Select Committee published a report on entitled Ensuring Effective Regulation in the EU which commented in detail on the progress of the Commission's Better Regulation agenda.

The Internal Market Sub-Committee of the European Union Select Committee has now decided to conduct another inquiry into the progress of aspects of Better Regulation.

The Sub-Committee invites you to submit written evidence to their inquiry. The Sub-Committee would find it helpful if, in addition to any general issues you may wish to raise, you would focus on a number of specific issues:

    (a)  Whether the right proposals are chosen to be subject to impact assessment or whether all legislative proposals should be accompanied by an impact assessment;

    (b)  Whether impact assessments are produced early enough in the legislative cycle to influence the proposals adopted by the Commission; whether they are suitably updated following negotiations so that the impact of legislation agreed between the Council and European Parliament is properly understood; and, if they are not, how the process could be changed;

    (c)  Whether members of the Council and MEPs use the impact assessments during negotiations; and, if not, how this could be encouraged;

    (d)  How effective the inclusion of a "do-nothing" option in impact assessments is; whether impact assessments actually influence policy formulation; or whether they are used to justify a decision already taken;

    (e)  Whether stakeholders are properly consulted; whether the concerns of SMEs and the principles of the Small Business Act are properly taken into consideration; how could consultation be improved; and to what extent consultation affects on policy formulation;

    (f)  Whether the Impact Assessment Board is sufficiently resourced and independent to ensure that the Commission produces useful and accurate impact assessments;

    (g)  Whether the Commission is sufficiently active in providing support to Member States during implementation and using its enforcement powers to ensure proper implementation.

The Committee would particularly welcome submissions with reference to energy, transport and telecommunications proposals.

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