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Glossary

Term

Meaning

Agenda Planning

Agenda planning (AP) is the Commission's tool for managing and tracking the most important initiatives which proceed to adoption by the College. AP entries provide information about timing and content, adoption procedure, a link to Roadmaps (where applicable) and indicate whether an Impact assessment (IA) and/or Implementation Plan (IP) is being prepared.

Application

Application means actually putting the requirements of legislation into daily practice after it has entered into force. EU Regulations apply directly from their date of entry into force, the rules laid down in EU Directives will apply only from the date of entry into force of the national legislation which has transposed the EU Directive into national law. Application covers transposition and implementation.

Consultation

Consultation describes a process of gathering feedback, comments, evidence or other input on a particular intervention from other entities either from within the Commission (interservice consultation) or from outside the Commission (stakeholder consultation).

Consultation Strategy

A Consultation strategy sets out one or more approaches to ascertain the views of stakeholders about a given issue. The strategy identifies relevant stakeholders for a new initiative under preparation by the Commission and defines the appropriate methods, tools and timing of consultation activities. For example, web-based public consultation may be complemented by approaches such as workshops, meetings, letters etc. The Roadmap informs about the Consultation strategy.

Evaluation / Evaluation report

Evaluation is an assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added-value of one single EU intervention. The Roadmap informs about evaluation work and timing.

An evaluation report (SWD) is prepared by the lead service and presents the findings and conclusions about the evaluation. The quality of major evaluation reports is checked by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board against the requirements of the relevant guidelines prior to publication and/or transmission to the Legislator as part of a formal report from the Commission.

Fitness check / Fitness check report

A Fitness check is an evaluation of the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added-value of a number of related EU interventions in a policy area/business sector. It identifies excessive burdens, inconsistencies and obsolete or ineffective measures and helps to identify the cumulative impact of legislation.

A Fitness check report (SWD) is prepared by the lead service which presents the findings of the Fitness check. The quality of major Fitness check reports is checked by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board against the requirements of the relevant guidelines prior to publication and/or transmission to the Legislator as part of a formal report from the Commission.

Gold-plating

Gold-plating describes a process by which a Member State which has to transpose EU Directives into its national law, or has to implement EU legislation, uses the opportunity to impose additional requirements, obligations or standards on the addresses of its national law that go beyond the requirements or standards foreseen in the transposed EU legislation.

Impact

In an impact assessment process, the term impact describes all the changes which are expected to happen due to the implementation and application of a given policy option/intervention. Such impacts may occur over different timescales, affect different actors and be relevant at different scales (local, regional, national and EU). In an evaluation context, impact refers to the changes associated with a particular intervention which occur over the longer term.

Impact Assessment / Impact Assessment report

Impact Assessment is an integrated process to assess and to compare the merits of a range of policy options designed to address a well-defined problem. It is an aid to political decision making not a substitute for it. The Roadmap informs whether an impact assessment is planned or justifies why no impact assessment is carried out.

An impact assessment report is a SWD prepared by the lead service which presents the findings of the impact assessment process. It supports decision making inside of the Commission and is transmitted to the Legislator following adoption by the College of the relevant initiative. The quality of each IA report is checked by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board against the requirements of the relevant guidelines.

Implementation

Implementation describes the process of making sure that the provisions of EU legislation can fully enter into application. For EU Directives, this is done via transposition of its requirements into national law, for other EU interventions such as Regulations or Decisions other measures may be necessary (e.g. in the case of Regulations, aligning other legislation that is not directly touched upon but affected indirectly by the Regulation with the definitions and requirement of the Regulation). Whilst EU legislation must be transposed correctly it must also be applied appropriately to deliver the desired policy objectives.

Implementation Plan

An implementation plan is a SWD that is prepared to support the implementation by the Commission and the Member States of certain new Directives and Regulations. It accompanies any impact assessment and the proposal itself. It identifies implementation needs and actions required of different entities to ensure a timely, effective and consistent implementation. The Roadmap informs if an Implementation plan is established.

Inception Impact Assessment

The inception Impact Assessment is the initial description of the problem, its underlying drivers, the policy objectives, policy options and the economic, social, environmental impacts of those policy options. It provides a comprehensive basis for stakeholders to provide feedback, information and opinions.

Interservice (steering) group

An interservice group is a group of Commission representatives from more than one DG or service who discusses priority cross-cutting issues and steers and monitors elements of the policy making process that require the interaction of more than one DG or other Commission service. Interservice steering groups are required for the preparation of major initiatives, entailing impact assessments, stakeholder consultations, evaluations and Fitness Checks.

Initiative

An initiative is a policy instrument prepared at EU level to address a specific problem or societal need. An impact assessment will assess options to inform the policy content of the initiative.

Intervention

Intervention is used as umbrella terms to describe a wide range of EU activities including: expenditure and non-expenditure measures, legislation, action plans, networks and agencies.

Intervention logic

The intervention logic is the logical link between the problem that needs to be tackled (or the objective that needs to be pursued), the underlying drivers of the problem, and the available policy options (or the EU actions actually taken) to address the problem or achieve the objective. This intervention logic is used in both prospective Impact Assessments and retrospective evaluations.

Monitoring

Monitoring describes the process of tracking the implementation and application of EU legislation by the Commission or the progress of spending programmes.

REFIT

REFIT is the European Commission's Regulatory Fitness and Performance programme launched in December 2012. Under REFIT, action is taken to make EU law simpler, lighter, more efficient and less costly, thus contributing to a clear, stable, least burdensome and most predictable regulatory framework supporting growth and jobs.

Regulatory Scrutiny Board

A body inside the Commission which scrutinises draft impact assessment reports and major retrospective evaluations and issues opinions with a view to improving their quality or providing guidance for the future.

Roadmap

A roadmap is a tool to substantiate the political validation of an initiative the Commission is preparing and, to inform stakeholders about planned consultation work, impact assessments, evaluations, Fitness Checks. It is published at an early stage by the Secretariat General on the Commission's web site and helps stakeholders prepare timely and effective inputs to the policy making process.

SME

SME is the abbreviation for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361 as enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million.

Stakeholder

Stakeholder is any individual or entity impacted, addressed or otherwise concerned by an EU intervention.

Transposition

Transposition describes the process of incorporating the rights and obligations set out in an EU Directive into national legislation, thereby giving legal force to the provisions of the Directive. The Commission may take action if a Member State fails to transpose EU legislation and /or to communicate to the Commission what measures it has taken. In case of no or partial transposition, the Commission can open formal infringement proceedings and eventually refer the Member State to the European Court of Justice.