From 1 January, the European Commission gives citizens, businesses and non-governmental organisations at least 12 weeks to comment on plans for new policies and legislation, compared to 8 weeks previously.
This will make it easier for them to get involved in EU policy-making at an early stage. The Commission has also introduced an alert service for upcoming initiatives: Organisations that sign up for the Transparency Register, can subscribe to this alert service to get early information on the roadmaps for new initiatives in their fields of interest about one year before there adoption.
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, said: "A key part of getting our policies right is listening to the people who will be affected by them. By keeping our consultations open longer we will strengthen the voice of the citizens, businesses and organisations that help us shape our policies for the benefit of all."
The Commission hopes that the extended consultation period and the new alert service will increase the participation in its consultations, especially from those groups who up until now have been underrepresented. For example, SME federations will now have more time to organise themselves and consult their members on how a new policy proposal may impact small businesses.
With its policy for 'smart regulation' the Commission aims at involving citizens and businesses in the legislative process to ensure that it takes all relevant evidence and concerns into account when drafting a legislative proposal.
See ongoing public consultations (Your voice in Europe)
See upcoming Commission initiatives (Roadmaps)
Sign up for the Roadmap alert service (Transparency Register)