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Simplification under REFIT

The Commission's simplification programme streamlines EU legislation to make it more understandable and user-friendly for EU citizens. Each year, it launches a set of simplification initiatives – drawing on input from individuals, businesses, NGOs, national authorities and other stakeholders.

Simplification can take a number of forms:

Changes to existing law

  • codification: all amendments made to one piece of legislation over the years are incorporated into a single new act, reducing volume and complexity
  • recasting: similar to codification, but the legislation is amended at the same time as previous amendments are incorporated to form one consolidated text
  • repeal: unnecessary and irrelevant laws are removed
  • review/sunset clauses: laws are reviewed or automatically removed after a given period
  • revision: laws are modified to keep them up to date.

Directly applicable regulations

EU directives set out principles that EU national governments must then incorporate into national laws, whereas EU regulations apply directly in all EU countries.

Replacing directives with regulations ensures all EU citizens are subject to the same rules and prevents national governments from adding extra requirements.

Withdrawal of proposals

Pending legislation and proposals for new legislation are withdrawn if found to be obsolete due to scientific or technical advances or if they are no longer in line with current policy objectives.

Self-regulation and co-regulation

Self-regulation and co-regulation can be simpler alternatives to imposing detailed rules in legally binding agreements:

  • self-regulation: voluntary agreements or codes of conduct between private bodies
  • co-regulation: the desired outcome is set down in law but the decision on how to achieve it is left to the parties involved.

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