For quite a few years CEMBUREAU, as an active Member of the Alliance for a Competitive European Industry (ACEIi), has advocated for a more thorough “competitiveness” impact assessment to accompany any new piece of legislation proposed by the European Commission. Over those years, there have been serious improvements of the procedures within the European Commission even though, too often, impact assessments fall short of considering the “no action” option. ACEI contributed to the improvement of the Impact Assessment Guidelines, the latest version of which was issued in January 2009 [SEC(2009) 92)]. A regular contact with the President of the Impact Assessment Board, Dr Marianne Klingbeil and her team have proved helpful.
A serious problem remains, however. Once the proposal has left the European Commission to pursue its progress through the EU decisions-making maze, substantial changes made by the Council and the European Parliament may affect the impacts upon competitiveness with no assessment of these.
An important step to remedy this gap is being made by the European Parliament.
The European Parliament is in the process of setting up a specific office to conduct impact assessments on EU legislative proposals. This so-called “Legislative Assessment Directorate” will be responsible for scrutinising amendments by MEPs, and its role will be similar to that of the European Commission’s Impact Assessment Board. In addition to 19 members of staff, the new Directorate will include a supervisory board of 13 MEPs, the aim of which will be to establish the impact assessment priorities. It will also look at the potential impact of proposed legislation on individual MS policies.
CEMBUREAU welcomes this important step which should mark a significant progress in the long march to deliver "better regulation".
In the European Parliament, a first significant improvement took place on 11 March 1999 where the Rules of Procedure then adopted following the Amsterdam Treaty (Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty of the European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts) provided for the first time that amendments must be accompanied by a short justification.
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