The Government has welcomed proposals by the European Commission to reduce the regulatory burden on business but has stressed that it wants “smarter European regulation” in future.
The Commission has promised that it will:
* extend the minimum consultation period for its proposals to 12 weeks
* review its consultation process to make sure all those who will be affected by EU action are able to influence its development
* adjust laws after evaluating how they are working in practice to test whether regulations remain necessary and are workable. Four pilot reviews are to conclude in 2012 covering environment, transport, employment and industrial policy
* strengthen further the impact assessment process that allows new proposals to be checked for effectiveness and need
* give its internal watchdog, the Impact Assessment Board, more power to challenge bad ideas and inadequate analysis by Commission departments
The Commission’s paper Smart Regulation in the European Union also reminds member states that they can use current EU legislation to waive some of the regulatory burden on small businesses.
The Business Minister, Mark Prisk, welcomed the Commission’s proposals but said that promises must be followed up by action: “The Government is working to break the habit of regulation in the UK, freeing businesses to realise their potential for growth. In the coming years I’d like to see the Commission try to do the same, bringing in smarter regulation, and wherever possible alternatives to regulation.”
We shall keep clients informed of developments.