Speech by Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, at the press conference on Better Regulation

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC) i, gepubliceerd op donderdag 29 april 2021.

Good morning and thank you for tuning in.

It is a real pleasure for me today to present this Communication on Better Regulation. I am convinced that what we propose in here will make a positive difference on the ground.

This is especially true given the need to legislate as efficiently as possible as we lay the groundwork for Europe's recovery.

Although the Commission already has one of the best ‘Better Regulation' systems in the world - as noted by the OECD - we want to raise the bar even higher.

First, good policymaking ensures those directly affected are involved closely in the process. We therefore want all stakeholders to play an active part - from local, regional and national authorities, to social partners, business, academia and the general public.

But we also want to improve the way we consult them, by making it easier to provide input - through a single ‘call for evidence' on our ‘Have Your Say' portal and through clearer questionnaires.

In 2020, over 1.2 million people shared their ideas on our intitiatives.

The Conference on the Future of Europe is, in my view, an excellent new opportunity to boost awareness around ‘Have Your Say' and to encourage Europeans to contribute to our calls for evidence. As a rule, they will be available in all EU official languages and will run for 12 weeks.

Moreover, to boost transparency, we will improve access to the evidence behind every legislative proposal. My ambition is to set up, together with the Parliament and the Council, a common evidence register, the Joint Legislative Portal, which will provide simple, easy access for anyone interested to all related studies, evaluations and datasets underpinning a given initiative.

Second, EU legislation - no matter how beneficial - comes with costs attached. But these costs must remain reasonable and proportionate. We will therefore step up our burden reduction efforts through a ‘one in, one out' approach.

In practice, we are planning to offset new burdens resulting from the Commission's legislative proposals, by reducing equivalent existing burdens in the same policy area. But this will not be applied mechanically. For example, it does not mean that every new piece of legislation will require an existing law to be withdrawn - only that the burdens on people and businesses must be offset.

We will seek to achieve this with savings in the same policy area - focused on both, the practicalities and costs of applying legislation, especially for SMEs. And I can assure you that this will never be at the expense of our high economic, social and environmental standards.

We will pilot the ‘one in, one out' approach in the second half of this year and start implementing it through the 2022 Commission Work Programme.

Ultimately, what we need is EU legislation that is easy to comply with, efficient and fit for the future. For example, in the context of the Fit for Future Platform, the Committee of the Regions' RegHub 2.0 will look into why it takes us so long to build 21st century infrastructure.

Especially in the current context, it is really important to me that investing in such infrastructure is not made more difficult by unnecessarily complicated and burdensome planning and permitting procedures.

This brings me to my third point - the integration of strategic foresight into our Better Regulation Agenda. The pandemic has shown that the EU must do more to anticipate the challenges ahead.

Our major initiatives should therefore be fit for the future, for example by systematically studying the effect of emerging megatrends, such as hyperconnectivity and demographic change, on each legislative proposal.

In addition, for each proposal we will identify the relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals and examine how they will be achieved. To support sustainability, better regulation will also apply the principle of do no significant harm'.

Equally, we must be in pole position to take full advantage of the digital decade. To support the digital transition, better regulation will ensure the application of the ‘digital by default' principle to all proposals.

In conclusion, let me underline that better regulation is not only a shared objective but a shared responsibility of all EU institutions.

The Commission can only determine the expected impacts of legislation, including costs and savings, associated with its own proposals. Amendments made to these proposals in the course of negotiations with the Parliament and the Council may significantly alter the impacts of EU legislation in its final form.

We therefore need all hands on deck to ensure we can accurately predict how our proposals will ultimately affect those on the ground. I repeat my call on both, the Council and the Parliament, to launch impact assessments on major amendments.

Thank you for your attention and I'm looking forward to your questions.

Listen to the press conference