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Impact Assessment


Consultation on the draft Commission Impact Assessment Guidelines

Policy field(s)

General and Institutional Affairs, Better Regulation and Iimpact Assessment

Target group(s)

All citizens, organisations and public authorities are welcome to contribute to this consultation.

Period of consultation

Start Date: 02/06/2008 Closing Date: 25/07/2008
This public consultation is now closed

Objective of the consultation

The draft Commission Guidelines for Impact Assessment that you are invited to comment on will be used by Commission services when they prepare impact assessments to support the related policy initiatives. The Commission published its first guidelines for Impact Assessment (IA) in 2003. A revised version was presented in June 2005 and supplemented by further annexes on two occasions in 2005 and 2006. The current revision of the text was triggered by the external evaluation of the Commission's impact assessment system in 2006/07, and by the establishment of the independent Impact Assessment Board in late 2006.

The external evaluation concluded that the 2005 guidelines were of high quality. It nevertheless also identified the need to fill certain "gaps" in the guidance, and to make them more operational for desk officers. In the context of the evaluation, a large number of stakeholders also offered their comments and suggestions for improvements of the IA system and the Guidelines.

The Impact Assessment Board, through its quality check of all Commission impact assessment, has also identified possible quality improvements.

The Commission has therefore revised the IA Guidelines, while preserving as far as possible the structure of the original text. Language and presentation of the information have been revised, and new guidance is offered in a number of areas.

The most important elements that have been reinforced are:

  • subsidiarity, proportionality, and the EU-added value of an initiative
  • risk assessment
  • social impacts
  • consumer impacts
  • impacts on small businesses
  • impacts at national and regional level
  • impacts on international trade and investment, and on third countries
  • impacts on administrative burden and simplification.
View the consultation document

Draft Commission Impact Assessment Guidelines pdf (456 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  and annexespdf(676 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 


While the Guidelines are intended for internal use, stakeholder involvement in the impact assessment process is an essential element in ensuring the quality of the final product. The Commission therefore invites you to provide feedback on the following questions on the revised Guidelines.

Do the Guidelines:

  1. Explain sufficiently the logic of the steps to be followed in the impact assessment process (problem definition, objectives, policy options, assessment of impacts, comparison of options, monitoring and evaluation)?
  2. Preserve the proper balance between economic, social and environmental impacts that is required in the integrated and balanced approach to impact assessment?
  3. Cover sufficiently the specific aspects of these impacts?
  4. Cover a sufficiently broad range of analytical methods, and are these methods treated in sufficient detail?
  5. Indicate sufficiently clearly how input from experts and stakeholders should be collected during the preparatory stage based on the Commission's Minimum Standards for Consultation ?
Reference documents and other related consultations

Commission communication - 2nd strategic review of Better Regulation in the European Union - COM(2008)32 (30 January 2008)

Press release
IP/08/856 Choose translations of the previous link 
Contact details

European Commission
Unit SG.C.2 - Better Regulation and Impact Assessment
B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
Fax: +32 2 2965960

View the contributions Choose translations of the previous link 
In the interests of transparency, organisations have been invited to provide the public with relevant information about themselves by registering in the Interest Representative Register and subscribing to its Code of Conduct.
Results of the consultation and next steps

The Commission has prepared a summary reportpdf(41 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  on the consultation results and how they have been reflected in the new 2009 Guidelines.
Please note that the Commission will not respond individually to the contributions received.