The European Union is concealing data used to decide if its draft legislation is justified and is failing to follow its self-imposed procedures, according to a new study.
The most damning claim made in the study by the Impact Assessment Institute: only half the EU’s legislative proposals announced in 2016 were subject to impact assessment.
The European Commission, led by Jean-Claude Juncker, has made ‘better regulation’ a centerpiece of its philosophy since 2014. Juncker charged his powerful First Vice-President Frans Timmermans with overseeing the effort to filter out unnecessary and overly complicated EU legal proposals.
Natasha Bertaud, a Commission spokesperson, said: “In the past two years the Commission improved the scope, transparency and objectivity of its impact assessment system, and was recently ranked among the highest standards in an international comparison by the OECD. We welcome any evaluation of our work that can help us do a better job, so we will study the report carefully.”
The IAI argues the Commission has exaggerated one of the key metrics that allows the public to decide if its better regulation policy is working.
According to the institute, the Juncker commission (2014-2016) has achieved a 41 percent drop in new initiatives compared to the previous Barroso commission (2009-2011,) far below the 60 to 70 percent drop claimed by the Commission.
“Achievements so far have fallen well short of expectations,” said Simon Godwin, a co-author of the study and chair of the Impact Assessment Institute.
The IAI’s recommendations for the Commission and the other EU institutions include: making impact assessments a default process when new rules are developed and ensuring assessments are “compiled without working towards predefined policy conclusions.”
In its own September 2016 progress report on the ‘Better Regulation Agenda,’ the Commission said that it has improved its impact assessments by establishing a Regulatory Scrutiny Board. The Commission said that it had repealed 32 laws and simplified 103 others and that the quality of its impact assessment processes had been verified by the OECD.