Reporting is a transfer of information and data from one entity to another which may include a wide range of cases. In the context of this initiative, it is a requirement for an European Member State to transmit information to the European Commission as a mean to demonstrate successful implementation. The information is the result of monitoring this implementation, and it is the monitoring that provides the evidence base for implementation and policy making. Hence, the Fitness Check will cover both reporting and monitoring as a way to better support implementation.
What are the results of the Fitness Check?
The Commission finalized its Fitness Check evaluation in June 2017 publishing the following documents:
The work was underpinned by the evidence collected in the context of the project "Support to the Fitness Check of monitoring and reporting obligations arising from EU environmental legislation". The following documents from this project are available:
To find out more about the follow up to the Fitness Check, please go to the actions for streamlining.
Why a Fitness Check?
Because environmental monitoring and reporting can be:
Because best practices are not used sufficiently since monitoring and reporting are traditionally different in different sectors. This creates silos and makes integrated environment assessments more burdensome.
Because the potential of information technology and the drive of administrations to introduce e-government services changes the landscape significantly. The Commission's agenda for a Digital Single Market (COM(2015)192) showed how building a data economy, improving interoperability and promoting e-government services can boost competitiveness, growth and innovation whilst at the same time making our society more inclusive through transparent and accountable governance. Environment policy has always been at the forefront of this development by promoting active dissemination of data as set out by the Directive on Access to Information (2003/4/EC) and providing for an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe through the INSPIRE Directive (2007/2/EC). Implementing these obligations would increase the availability of information and data at national level and, if organised efficiently, reduce the need to collecting some of these data through reporting.
What is the Fitness Check?
In its Better Regulation Communication (COM(2015)215), the Commission announced that it will:
"Launch a broad review of reporting requirements to see how burdens can be alleviated. This review will have a particularly strong focus on areas where stakeholders have recently indicated their concerns, such as agriculture, energy, environment and financial services."
In the 7th Environment Action Programme, the relevant priority objectives are:
"to maximise the benefits of Union environment legislation by improving implementation; to improve the knowledge and evidence base for Union environment policy".
In relation to environment policy, the aim of such an initiative is to develop a more modern, efficient and effective regulatory monitoring and reporting building on the past successes to support the following specific objectives:
The commitment is to address the need for robust and effective reporting whilst minimising the administrative burden associated with it. The broad purpose is to ensure that environmental reporting is fit-for-purpose and to allow for the identification of concrete actions towards a streamlined, low burden, high effects monitoring and reporting in the context of environmental legislation.
How the Fitness Check is conducted?
The Fitness Check on Monitoring and Reporting considers what is reported and why (“content”; is all the information that is asked for needed? is all the information needed asked for?), when the reporting is taking place (“timing”; is it at the right time for policy needs? is the timing coherent across different pieces of legislation?) and how the reporting process is organised (“method and process”; is full use of e-reporting being made? is the process of validating data properly done?), so as to optimise the supporting infrastructure.
The Fitness Check considers all reporting obligations related to a defined set of environmental legislation (see the environmental legislation currently covered by the Fitness Check) which may evolve as the work continues. In this context, also the related implementing acts or other reporting templates may play a role in particular if it emerges that these are relevant to the Member States, businesses or other stakeholders.
The European Commission is keen to receive feedback on this subject matter. You can send any comments, questions or information of relevance (such as reports, projects, etc.) to us: ENV-E04@ec.europa.eu.
The public consultation on the Fitness Check of monitoring and reporting obligations in environment policy was closed in February 2016 and the results are now published in "A summary of public consultation responses".
If you still want to express your views on Monitoring and Reporting requirements or share your experiences, please send a message to our mailbox (see above).