Administrative costs are the costs incurred by enterprises, the voluntary sector, public authorities and citizens in meeting legal obligations to provide information on their activities (or production), either to public authorities or to private parties. They are different from costs stemming from the substantive requirements of the legislation, i.e. those setting, for instance, social and environmental standards requiring changes in products or processes.
A distinction must be made between information that would be collected by an entity even in the absence of the legislation and information that would not be collected without the legal provisions. The costs generated by the latter type of information are often called administrative burdens.
The Commission's Better Regulation strategy is aimed at measuring administrative costs and reducing administrative burdens.
Better lawmaking is another denomination for Better regulation. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that in addition to reporting on better regulation, the annual Better lawmaking report also covers subsidiarity and proportionality.
In a wide sense, used in some Member States, codification means gathering all legislation on a particular topic into a single "book" (e.g. penal code). In a narrow sense, and as used in the EU context, codification consists of the adoption of a new legislative act which incorporates and repeals the previous ones (i.e. the basic act and all amending acts). This makes the law clearer and more easily accessible without changing its substance.
See also: Commission Legal Service on codification
Concordance tables are used to facilitate monitoring of the transposition of EU law into national laws by the Member States. They show in technical terms precisely how provisions in EC directives have been transposed at national level.
Consolidation of a legislative act, like codification, brings together a basic legislative act and all its amending acts in a single text. Although the resulting consolidated texts are not subject to formal decision-making and therefore do not have legal status, they greatly facilitate access to legislation and reduce the volume of texts.
The consolidated text, which has no formal legal effect, may, where appropriate, be published in the Official Journal (C Series) and is also accessible on EUR-Lex.
Enforcement implies that compliance with EU law is monitored and non-compliance is sanctioned by national and supranational courts.
In the EU context, 'gold-plating' refers to transposition of EU legislation, which goes beyond what is required by that legislation, while staying within legality. Member States have large discretion when implementing EC directives. They may increase reporting obligations, add procedural requirements, or apply more rigorous penalty regimes. If not illegal, 'gold plating' is usually presented as a bad practice because it imposes costs that could have been avoided.
Gold-plating therefore is different from a transposition measure in contradiction with a directive and subject to infringement procedures. 'Opting out' of deregulatory measures is not gold-plating either. Some directives only invite, but do not oblige, Member States to remove a set of national rules. When a Member State decides to maintain its rules, there are indeed no additional requirements to the directive.
The Inter-governmental conference (2000) adopted a declaration attached to the Treaty of Nice on inter-institutional agreements. This declaration states that relations between the Community institutions are governed by the duty to cooperate sincerely and that when necessary to facilitate the application of the provisions of the Treaty, the Parliament, the Council and the Commission can conclude inter-institutional agreements. These agreements can neither change nor supplement the provisions of the Treaty and can be concluded only with the agreement of these three institutions.
The establishment of an "internal market" (i.e. an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured) is a central objective of the Union. This requires, among other things, the harmonisation of rules set at Member State level (also called the "approximation" of laws). Some harmonisation measures introduce common standards throughout the EU (positive harmonisation), while others are limited to the suppression of national rules (negative harmonisation). Today approximately half of the trade in goods within the EU is covered by harmonised rules. The other half is accounted for by the ‘non-harmonised' sector, which is either regulated by national authorities outside any EU intervention or not specifically regulated at all.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the Commission's in-house research-based policy support centre. It supports EU policy-makers in the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of policies to tackle trans-national and global problems, such as food contamination, genetic modification, chemical hazards, global change, environment and health, and nuclear safety. In effect, the JRC is a research-based policy support organisation working for the EU policy-maker.
The Lisbon Strategy was launched by the European Council (in Lisbon) in March 2000 and aimed at making the European Union ‘the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world' by 2010.
The Lisbon Strategy was relaunched in spring 2005 making the Growth and Jobs the number one priority. It also moved Better Regulation up the political agenda.
The revised strategy is no longer based on all the targets set in 2000 but concentrates on five objectives : employment, human capital, research and development, the internal market for services and reduction of the administrative burden. The Member States have established national reform programmes based on the Community Lisbon guidelines covering macroeconomic, microeconomic and employment issues.
See also: Europa ScadPlus Glossary on Lisbon strategy.
Pillars, EU pillars
The Treaty on European Union signed in 1992 (Maastricht) created specific decision-making procedures and instruments for new policy areas. These procedures and instruments do not follow the supranational model of the three European Communities set by previous Treaties (the European Community, the Euratom and the former European Coal and Steel Community). Because of these differences, the EU is often said to be based on three 'pillars', namely:
In the case of the first pillar, only the Commission can submit proposals to the Council and Parliament. In the case of the second and third pillars, this right of initiative is shared between the Commission and the Member States.
See also: Europa ScadPlus Glossary on EU pillars.
The EC and EU Treaties determine the relative powers and ability of the EU institutions to affect the content of EU policies. Three institutions are principally involved in law-making i.e. the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council.
The policy cycle starts when the need for action at EU level is identified. In most cases, this is followed by a development phase, with the Commission reviewing policy options and their likely impacts. The Commission may then table a proposal. The European Parliament and the Council examine the proposal, adopt it - often after amendments - or reject it. The Commission may withdraw the proposal for various reasons (see Withdrawal of pending proposals). The policy is then implemented at EU and/or Member State levels. Finally the Commission monitors and evaluates if the policy has attained its intended objectives.
Proportionality is a guiding principle when defining how the Union should exercise its - exclusive and shared - competences (what should be the form and nature of EU action?) Basically EU action shall not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaty. In other words, it is not enough to ensure that EU actions are indeed linked with EU objectives. The decision must lean in favour of the least demanding option.
See also: Europa ScadPlus Glossary on proportionality.
Recasting refers to a legislative technique where a legislative proposal/act is a mix of substantial amendment and codification. This technique uses the opportunity provided by a substantial amendment to the basic legislative act to codify the original act and all its subsequent amendments. Unlike codification, recasting changes the substance of the law. Recasting is one form of simplification and a recasting proposal follows a normal legislative procedure according to its legal base.
A legal act by which the regulations, directives and decisions are formally repealed and their validity is terminated.
These clauses are introduced in legislative texts to help prevent obsolescence. By and large,
A roadmap is a short document that gives a first description of a planned Commission initiative, including an indication of the main areas to be assessed and the planning of subsequent impact analyses. These roadmaps have two functions: they provide an estimate of the expected timetable for a proposal and give more detailed information about how the impact assessment will be taken forward. Roadmaps are published at the time the Commission Legislative and Work Programme (CLWP) is adopted.
In the better regulation context screening is normally used in two different meanings:
‘Secondary legislation' is a major type of Community law after the Treaties (primary legislation) and international agreements. It can be defined as the totality of the legislative instruments adopted by the European institutions in accordance with the provisions of the Treaties.
These are Commission's legislative proposals which aim to simplify existing EU-legislation (the "acquis"). They generally take the form of repeal, codification, recasting or amendment. After the Commission has tabled its proposals, the European Parliament and the Council need to adopt them to become European law.
See also: Europa ScadPlus Glossary on simplification of legislation.
Subsidiarity is a guiding principle for defining the boundary between Member State and EU responsibilities (Who should intervene?). Basically the EU shall take action only if the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can be better achieved at the European level.
See also: Europa ScadPlus Glossary on subsidiarity.
Much of European law takes the form of directives setting out broad principles and objectives but leaving Member States the choice of methods. For instance, Member States may invite the private sector to set up voluntary schemes to reach the objectives. Yet often this involves the transposition of the directive into national or regional legislation. Member States have to reach the objectives within a given time period. The Commission monitors that the transposition is timely and correctly done, so as to attain the results intended by the EU policy.
See also: Europa ScadPlus Glossary on monitoring the application of EU law.
The Commission regularly monitors pending legislative proposals (screening) to make sure that they are relevant and up to date. It withdraws those which are no longer topical, for example, where new proposals have been presented by the Commission and scientific or technical advances have made them obsolete ('technical withdrawal').
As part of its right of initiative, the Commission may also withdraw a proposal whenever the amendments introduced by the European Parliament or the Council change the nature of the proposal or introduce complexity which is incompatible with the provisions of the Treaty ('political withdrawal').