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Commission making EU law lighter, simpler and less costly - 19/06/2014

Illustration showing people in various jobs © EU

The Commission assesses progress towards cutting red tape and announces new plans for simplifying EU rules to boost growth and jobs.

The Commission’s Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) was launched in December 2012. It aims to simplify the EU’s regulatory framework, to create the best possible conditions for growth and jobs with a minimum of administrative burden.

The REFIT programme is now being extended to maximise benefits for businesses and citizens by focusing EU legislation on issues that are best dealt with at EU level. It also screens for burdens, inconsistencies and ineffective measures and identifies corrective action..

Progress report

The first annual scoreboard pdf - 586 KB [586 KB] tracks the progress made since the Commission published its ambitious agenda for reducing regulatory burdens in October 2013.

Most proposals for simplification and burden reduction have since been adopted or are on track for adoption this year. In addition, some 53 pending proposals have been withdrawn, repeals of existing rules are under way and work has begun on areas requiring evaluation.

The most significant proposals for business - such as introducing a standard VAT declaration and improving the European small claims procedure - have already been put forward.

Work to be done

Keeping EU legislation ‘fit for purpose’ is an ongoing task. Having examined the latest screening of EU rules and listened to interested parties, the Commission has identified several new areas that need action. These include:

  • simpler EU rules on identity and travel documents
  • a new system for business statistics
  • simpler rules on visa requirements for non-EU citizens
  • an EU VAT web portal.

There are also plans to repeal legislation on energy labelling, transport rates and conditions, the common agricultural policy and environmental reporting.

A joint endeavour

The Commission wants all EU institutions to put regulatory fitness first, so that the impacts of policy choices are assessed throughout the legislative process.

With an estimated one third of administrative burdens stemming from national implementation measures, EU governments are also called upon to use the simplification options available under EU law.

The Commission will continue to monitor implementation by member countries, and the 2015 scoreboard will include an assessment of the progress made.

Press release - Commission making EU law lighter, simpler and less costly

FAQs - REFIT: state of play & outlook

Smart regulation

Reducing regulatory burdens

Fit for growth: making EU law simpler, lighter & cheaper

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