The readership survey we carried out during the summer showed that many readers would be interested in finding out more about the state of play of the legislative process in the European Union. In fact, the desire for greater transparency on how individual legislative proposals progress in the European law-making process is widespread throughout the EU and was at the root of the recent launch of the European Commission's new Better Regulation portal. The portal allows people to not only follow the entire policy and law-making process, but to express their views through an online feedback tool – and even contribute to new initiatives.
Better Regulation Agenda
The portal, which was launched during the summer, helps to implement the Commission's Better Regulation Agenda and contributes to the broader efforts to increase transparency in the EU institutions. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said the new tool has ''thrown open our decision-making process'' to those who have to deal with EU rules, adding that stakeholders will now ''be able to give their views for the first time on delegated and implementing acts, before they are adopted by the Commission".
Once it is fully developed, the new portal will allow people to track legislative initiatives both before they are adopted by the Commission and also to follow the life cycle of a legislative proposal, from the moment it is launched, through discussions in the Council and Parliament, until the final law is adopted, implemented in Member States and its impact is checked by means of evaluations.
At the early stages of a legislative proposal, the portal offers the possibility to track the law-making process, following the different phases from the annual Commission work programme, through the roadmaps, impact assessment report and expert groups. Further along the legislative process, the EUR-Lex website allows users to search through all EU law, including implementing laws and delegated acts. If, for instance, you are interested in staying up to date on legislation on money market funds you would just need to type it into the search criteria and will get all information on the proposal for a regulation on Money Market Funds. A timeline offers a visual representation of each step of the procedure, with detailed information about each institution's decisions and how they were taken, the services and departments involved, the legal basis of the act etc. In addition, the My EUR-Lex tool offers a personal space on EUR-Lex where people can save for instance legislative documents, save searches or create personalised RSS feeds.
Share your views
The portal also offers people the possibility of sharing their views on draft acts, which either amend or supplement existing laws or set the conditions for existing laws to be implemented in the same way across the EU (so called 'level-2 measures'). The feedback will be taken into account by the Commission when further developing the acts. So you can, for example, influence the direction of the school fruit, vegetables and milk scheme initiative or the rules on the application of fair use policy. Once a draft act is open for feedback, people have four weeks to share their views. The same will be true in the area of financial regulation although not for certain level-2 measures where the three European Supervisory Authorities are responsible for submitting drafts to the Commission. In this case, stakeholders can only give their feedback directly on the website of these Authorities (European Banking Authority, European Securities and Markets Authority, European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority).
To make the process of European law-making more open, the Transparency Register has been set up to provide information on what interests are being pursued, by whom and with what budgets. The register, which has been up and running since 2011, lists organisations and individuals hoping to influence European law-making.