REFIT is part of the Commission’s better regulation agenda. It makes sure that EU laws deliver their intended benefits for citizens, businesses and society while removing red tape and lowering costs. It also aims to make EU laws simpler and easier to understand.

REFIT pays particular attention to small businesses, which can be disproportionately affected by the burden of implementing EU rules. Small and medium-sized enterprises represent 99% of all businesses in the EU.

The annual overview shows all REFIT initiatives which are being implemented in the various EU policy areas under each of the Juncker Commission political priorities and shows how the opinions of the REFIT Platform have been taken into account by the Commission.

Better regulation: why and how

EU action in support of SMEs

The EU's efforts to simplify legislation – 2018 Annual Burden survey

How REFIT works

REFIT is taken into account in the preparation of the annual Commission work programmes, each of which includes proposals for new initiatives and a quality review of existing EU legislation.

Potential benefits and cost savings of each new proposal are evaluated through impact assessments. Impacts of EU laws are checked by retrospective evaluations and stakeholder views are collected through consultations.

The REFIT Platform allows national authorities, citizens and other stakeholders to get involved in improving EU legislation. They can make suggestions on how to reduce the regulatory and administrative burdens of EU laws, which are then analysed by the REFIT Platform and the Commission.

Simplifying EU legislation and reducing regulatory burden is a shared responsibility: the Commission works with the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, EU countries and other stakeholders.

REFIT Platform

REFIT Scoreboard

The Commission publishes on-line every year the REFIT Scoreboard which monitors simplification initiatives throughout their life cycle. The Scoreboard provides a comprehensive overview of the REFIT results under each of the Juncker Commission political priorities. The Scoreboard also shows how the recommendations of the REFIT Platform have been taken into account by the Commission. It lists all REFIT initiatives which are being implemented in the various EU policy areas.

REFIT Scoreboard (2018)

How you can contribute

The Commission would like to hear your views on existing EU laws and initiatives via the lighten the load feedback form. What do you find irritating or burdensome? What do you feel is in need of improvement?

We will follow up directly with you or send your comment to the REFIT Platform for further consideration.

Main achievements

  • More than 150 REFIT initiatives to simplify and reduce regulatory burdens have been proposed to Council and Parliament in the first three years of the Juncker Commission
  • The 2019 Commission work programme includes 10 new initiatives under REFIT

2018 Commission proposals: potential benefits

  • Value Added Tax (VAT) Small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs): Compliance costs for SMEs are expected to be reduced under this initiative to EUR 56.1 billion per year from EUR 68 billion per year at present
  • Explosives precursors: a decrease of around 10% (between EUR 25 million and EUR 75 million per year) in the current costs for companies of complying with the Regulation
  • Fisheries Control Regulation: Member States’ authorities are expected to benefit from cost savings of EUR 157 million over five years
  • Single maritime window: the simplification elements are quantified at an estimated amount of EUR 22-25 million staff hours in the time period 2020-2030, equivalent to a value of EUR 625-720 million for shipping operators
  • Service of documents: increase the speed of the cross-border service of documents; decreasing the volume of default judgments by 10% in the EU would result in saving up to EUR 480 million per year, since citizens would have to spend less on judicial reliefs


2002 – Better regulation programme is a first step in simplifying and improving EU legislation. It introduces obligatory impact assessments and stakeholder consultations for all new initiatives proposed by the Commission

2005 – Simplification rolling programme covers 164 measures for 2005-2009 and becomes part of the annual work programme

2007 – the Commission launches action programme to reduce administrative burden of EU regulation. High‑level group is set up to advise on implementation. Its recommendations include facilitating electronic invoicing and exempting micro‑enterprises from EU accounting rules

2012 – by the end of the action programme, the Commission reaches its target of cutting by 25% the administrative burden for businesses stemming from EU legislation (estimated annual savings EUR 30.8 billion)

2015 – the Commission publishes a study (ABRplus) which examines how 12 measures from the action programme have been applied in the EU countries and to what extent the promised benefits have been achieved

2015 – the Commission sets up the REFIT Platform

2017 – the Commission enhances REFIT by ensuring that issues of simplification and burden reduction are always taken into account when legislation is evaluated and revised


The EU's efforts to simplify legislation – 2018 Annual Burden survey

REFIT Scoreboard (2018)

REFIT Scoreboard summary (2017)

REFIT Scoreboard summary (2016)

REFIT Scoreboard (2016)

Commission communication on EU regulatory fitness (2012)

Action programme for reducing administrative burdens in the EU – final report

ABRplus study - final report

Final report of the high level group on cutting red tape in Europe – legacy and outlook