Common Commencement Dates (CCDs)
The concept of 'Common Commencement Dates' is an innovative solution to improve the life of SMEs. In line with the "Think Small First" principle and the Better Regulation Agenda, the idea is that business-related legislation comes into force on a limited number of fixed dates, with a view to ensuring a more streamlined flow and early information on new regulation concerning SMEs.
In the 'Small Business Act' for Europe the Commission made a commitment to, whenever practical, use common commencement dates for regulation and decisions affecting business and to publish an annual statement of such legislation entering into force. The Member States are also invited to consider the usefulness of introducing common commencement dates and annual statements of legislation entering into force.
The origins of the idea
The idea for CCDs comes from the UK where the system is now implemented by all Governmental departments as far as original UK law is concerned. The Netherlands and Denmark are the countries that have shown interest in introducing the system.
The benefits of Common Commencement Dates
A couple or more fixed dates per year for the starting of business-related legislation, preceded by the publication of guidance material would allow SMEs to better prepare, adapt, and understand legislative changes. A key element of the system is the planning ahead and the publication of an indicative list, including a concise summary of every measure to come into force on the next CCD.
The objective is to assist businesses in planning for new measures and implementing them more effectively, leading to reduced costs, better compliance, and a potential reduction in the likelihood of legal challenge. Over time, it is hoped that common commencement dates will stimulate the legislator to reduce the volume of regulation as the cumulative burden becomes more apparent. Thus, CCDs subscribe to the logic of better regulation.
Common Commencement Dates at EU level
Following the Commission's commitment, in the 'Small Business Act' for Europe to use, whenever practical, common commencement dates for regulation and decisions affecting business, the Commission prepared a trial project for the launch of Common Commencement Dates in a selected sector related internal market legislation under the competences of Directorate General Enterprise and Industry.
At this stage, the scope of the project is mainly limited to Commission autonomous acts also known as implementing measures. The participating sectors are automotive industry and explosives. A Common commencement date is defined as the date of application i.e. the date when the legislation starts producing effects on SMEs. Considering the specificities of the participating sectors, 2 common commencement dates have been fixed: 29 April and 29 October. This would mean in practice that the acts included in the Common Commencement dates trial project will be applicable to businesses starting either on the 29 April or on the 29 October of a given year.
The results of this trial phase will be evaluated and if there is a positive outcome an extension of the project will be envisaged.
- [32 KB]