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No 3 (April 96/Avril 96/April 96)
An initiative on Simpler Legislation for the Internal Market (SLIM) was launched by the Commission on 27 March 1996. The main objective of SLIM is to take practical steps towards simpler and more effective Community legislation for the Single Market in order to generate employment and improve the competitiveness of European business, in line with President Santer's employment initiative. The total costs of administrative and regulatory compliance on all EU enterprises have been estimated at 150-250 billion Ecus every year.
SLIM teams, comprising representatives of the Commission, Member States and those directly affected by the legislation (industry, small and medium-sized enterprises, consumers), will start work identifying where legislation can be simplified in a limited number of targeted areas. During the initial pilot phase, the SLIM teams will be working on the system for collecting data on intra-Community trade (Intrastat), certain plant legislation, technical rules for construction products and recognition of diplomas. On the basis of the results of the SLIM teams' work, concrete proposals for simplification will be made to the November 1996 Internal Market Council. If the SLIM exercise is successful, the approach can be extended to other areas.
"The SLIM initiative is politically opportune, as it responds to demands from both Member States and industry for rapid action and concrete results", commented Single Market Commissioner Mario Monti. "These demands are directly linked to the need to promote growth and employment in the Union. I am delighted that the Commission has been able to set this initiative in motion so soon after the call for concrete simplification measures in priority sectors was issued by the 24 February informal meeting of Internal Market Ministers. SLIM's innovative approach, with the Commission, Member States and companies working together on targeted sectors, should ensure concrete results within a short period. SLIM also provides additional focus and impetus for other existing and forthcoming legislative simplification initiatives".
Concrete proposals by November 1996
Each SLIM team will be chaired by a Commission representative personally nominated by the responsible Commissioner. Other team members will come from interested Member States and from those directly affected by the rules in question (such as companies and consumers). SLIM focuses on a narrow field of sectors, which have been identified by Member States and industry as requiring simplification, in order to ensure rapid progress. This avoids spreading the net too widely. Only when work is finished on these sectors will the initiative move on to other sectors. The SLIM teams will be working to clear deadlines, so as to have concrete simplification proposals ready for the November Internal Market Council.
The way that SLIM brings together the Commission, Member States and industry in an informal way is a major innovation. Up to now, the Commission, Member States and industry have been working on simplification - but mostly separately and not in tandem. By bringing them together, the Commission expects the exercise to be more constructive and to bring rapid, concrete results.
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