Objectives of the Better Regulation agenda

  • EU actions based on evidence
  • Making simpler and better EU laws
  • Involving citizens, businesses and stakeholders in the decision-making process

What the Commission is doing

The European Commission is responsible for planning, preparing and proposing new EU laws and policies. The work is guided by the annual Commission Work Programme. When proposing laws, the Commission is assessing their expected impact. Strategic foresight is a key element in creating future-proof policies in all sectors, with particular focus on the green, digital, geopolitical and socio-economic areas.

The Commission is also responsible for evaluating EU laws and proposing improvements where necessary. The Commission continues to monitor their implementation and application in the Member States.

To foster Europe’s recovery, it is of key importance to legislate transparently and as efficiently as possible:

BR-Removing-Icon Removing obstacles and red tape that slow down investments and building of 21st century infrastructure, by working with Member States, regions and local level and key stakeholders
BR-Simplifiying-icon Simplifying public consultations by introducing a single ‘Call for Evidence’, on the improved Have Your Say portal. This will generally combine the feedback on roadmaps and inception impact assessments with the questionnaire into one call for evidence.
BR-Introducing-icon Introducing a ‘one in, one out’ approach, to minimise burdens for citizens and businesses by paying special attention to the implications and costs of applying legislation, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. This principle ensures that any newly introduced burdens are offset by removing equivalent burdens in the same policy area.
BR-Mainstreaming-icon Mainstreaming the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, to ensure that all legislative proposals contribute to the 2030 sustainable development agenda.
Improving Improving the way in which Better Regulation addresses and supports sustainability goals and the digital transformation.
BR-Integrating-icon Integrating strategic foresight into policymaking to ensure it is fit for the future, by for instance, taking into account emerging megatrends in the green, digital, geopolitical and socio-economic contexts.

The Commission’s efforts on Better Regulation have been recognised internationally by the OECD.

Learn more about the EU policy and law-making cycle.

EU policy and law-making cycle

Have Your Say – share your views and ideas

The Commission has been seeking evidence and feedback from citizens, businesses, and stakeholders at all stages of the legislative and policymaking process since 2015.You can share your views and ideas on Commission initiatives across all policy areas on the Have Your Say portal. It is possible to sign up for notifications regarding new developments as initiatives take shape, including after the adoption of legislation.

EU Law is in your hands

The future is in your hands
The Have Your Say portal The Conference on the Future of Europe

You contribution makes a difference

Contributions from citizens, businesses and stakeholders make a real difference to EU policies. They have guided and improved the Commission’s work on several important initiatives, such as the European Citizens’ Initiative, the European Solidarity Corps, the Common Agricultural Policy and our Guidelines for the energy efficiency of buildings.

Find out how the consultation process helped shape legislation.

Simplifying EU laws

The Commission is assessing the performance of existing EU laws and making changes where necessary to keep them fit for purpose.

  • The Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) programme was established in 2012 to make EU law simpler and to reduce unnecessary costs of regulation while still achieving benefits.
  • The Fit for Future Platform – a high-level expert group composed of representatives of Member States, the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee and stakeholders representing civil society, business and non-governmental organisations. The group assists the Commission in improving EU laws by providing opinions to the Commission on potential for simplification, burden reduction and modernisation opportunities of existing EU laws. Anyone can propose suggestions for the simplification of existing EU laws through the Have Your Say: Simplify! portal.
  • Evaluations and fitness checks are used to assess whether EU laws, policies and funding programmes are delivering the expected results at minimum cost.

Every year, the Commission presents an overview of its efforts on simplification and burden reduction in the Annual Burden Survey. It also regularly monitors the programme’s progress in the REFIT scoreboard.

Ensuring Quality

The Better Regulation guidelines and toolbox will help provide concrete guidance to European Commission services when preparing new initiatives and proposals as well as when managing and evaluating existing legislation.

In 2015, the Commission has established the Regulatory Scrutiny Board, an independent body of Commission officials and experts from outside the Commission.  The Regulatory Scrutiny Board reviews impact assessments and selected evaluations. The Board publishes annual reports on what it has done to deliver on its mission.  

Strengthening subsidiarity and proportionality

The principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are cornerstones of the EU treaties, and are systematically applied to the Commission’s legislative proposals.

With the subsidiarity principle, the Commission aims to only act where it is necessary and where it delivers clear benefits over and above measures taken at national, regional or local levels. Except in cases where the EU has exclusive competence, action at European level should not be taken unless it is more effective than action taken at national, regional or local level. A subsidiarity grid is attached to all politically sensitive and important initiatives accompanied buy an impact assessment.

Proportionality focuses on the financial and administrative impact of proposed legislation, to ensure that regulatory actions do not exceed what is necessary to achieve the legislative and policy objectives. Any such impact must be minimised and must be proportionate to the policy objectives. For the Commission this means delivering our ambitious policies in the simplest, least costly way, avoiding unnecessary red tape.

The EU institutions working together

Improving EU law-making is a shared objective and the responsibility of all EU institutions and Member States. The best way to improve EU law-making and deliver better results is for the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission to work more closely together in the coming years.

Given the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in our path to a sustainable recovery, it is crucial to legislate as efficiently as possible, with our future in mind. The effective application, implementation and enforcement of EU law is a priority for the von der Leyen Commission. The Commission can only determine the costs and savings associated with its own legislative proposals. Changes made during negotiations with the European Parliament and the Council may significantly alter impacts for people and business. As such, the Commission would welcome relaunched political dialogue to discuss ideas, so that that all parties can fulfil their commitments under the interinstitutional agreement on better law-making

The Commission will gradually make internal databases and repositories publicly accessible, in line with our data transparency policy. We will reach out to the European Parliament and the Council to set up a common evidence register, the Joint Legislative Portal, that will allow anyone interested in EU policymaking to find easily all the evidence underpinning a given initiative.

International regulatory cooperation

The EU is built on commonly agreed rules. For these rules to work, Member States must fully implement and enforce them in a timely fashion. They then need to ensure that the rules are correctly applied and enforced, because non-enforcement bears costs for citizens and businesses.

The effective application, implementation and enforcement of EU law is a priority for the von der Leyen Commission. As announced in President von der Leyen’s political guidelines, the Commission will continue to guide and support Member States in their efforts to transpose directives, implement regulations and apply EU rules properly. Compliance checks verify how Member States translate EU legislation into national legislation. To ensure effective dialogue in the transposition phase, we depend on the Member States for clear and precise information on national legislation.

Going forward, the Commission intends to carry out a stocktaking of its oversight and enforcement activities, to ensure that they remain fit for making EU law work in practice.


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