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Impact Assessment

Impact Assessment

Before the European Commission proposes a new initiative, it assesses the need for EU action and the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of alternative policy options.

Impact assessments are prepared for Commission initiatives expected to have significant economic, social or environmental impacts. These can be:

  • legislative proposals,
  • non-legislative initiatives (white papers, action plans, financial programmes, negotiating guidelines for international agreements) that define future policies,
  • implementing and delegated acts,

Planning of impact assessments is communicated to the public via inception impact assessments.

Stakeholders are consulted on all key aspects of impact assessments and final impact assessment reports are made public.

The Commission's Impact Assessment system has undergone continuous improvements since it was set up in 2002. The latest Better Regulation Guidelines, covering the whole of the policy cycle from initiation to evaluation, were published in 2015. The toolbox accompanying the new guidelines provides complementary guidance on specific elements.