2018 Annual Burden survey The Commission is committed to ensuring that EU legislation achieves its objectives and avoids unnecessary costs, both when it proposes legislation and when it revises it.

In line with the engagement taken in the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making, the Annual Burden survey 2018 presents a survey of the Union's efforts undertaken in 2018 to simplify legislation, avoid overregulation and reduce regulatory burdens.

This goal is a shared responsibility between the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council (when amending and adopting legislation) and the Member States (when transposing and implementing it). Despite continuous efforts to ensure EU legislation is as efficient as possible, the lessons of implementation and the experiences of citizens, businesses and Member States indicate that this is not always the case. The costs imposed by legislation may not be fully necessary to achieve the objectives or the legislation in place may no longer be up to date.

The Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) provides a response to these issues and it has been fully mainstreamed in decision-making over the last year: whenever evaluating or revising existing law, the Commission now systematically seeks to identify any opportunity for burden reduction while safeguarding policy objectives. Under the current Commission, REFIT has delivered more than 150 new initiatives focussed on simplifying legislation. This survey presents examples of the key proposals in 2018. 

A recent example is a proposal to amend the current VAT rules where compliance costs for small businesses are expected to be reduced to EUR 56.1 billion per year, an 18% reduction compared to present. Under a Commission proposal for a single maritime window, estimated savings are equivalent to EUR 625-720 million for shipping operators in the period 2020-2030.

In carrying out this work, the Commission has benefitted from the insights of the REFIT Platform, which issued 31 recommendations over the last 12 months. In 2018, the Commission also presented a set of proposals for the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework, which, inter alia, aims at significantly simplifying procedures to facilitate programmes’ participation and implementation to enhance their impact on the ground.


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