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EU Regulatory Fitness (REFIT)

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Opinion Number: CDR 1389/2013
Rapporteur: TOPE Graham
Commission: CIVEX
Status: Adopted
Date: 30/05/2013
 
Update the position of the CoR with regard to the smart regulation communication, taking into account issues that change with the REFIT communication
Propose a meaningful role for the CoR and local authorities and regions within the new Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme
Take stock of activities within the Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burden and the recent developments concerning the High Level Group on Administrative Burdens (CoR is an observer)
Contribute to the institutional discussion on Impact Assessment
13 amendments were proposed by CoR Rapporteur Graham TOPE (UK) to the ALDE Shadow Rapporteur Rebecca Taylor in relation to the JURI report on EU Regulatory Fitness and Subsidiarity and Proportionality – 19th report on Better Law-making covering the year 2011. Some of the CoR amendments were included in the final resolution adopted by the EP plenary assembly on 4 February 2014 (TA(2014)0061)

AM 1. CoR opinion mentioned in the recital
AM 2. CoR's addition included in the EP report stressing "added value" of EU legislation and "delivering full benefits at minimum costs"
AM 3: EP adopted a full paragraph proposed by the CoR stating that "better law-making should be pursued in the spirit of multilevel governance, i.e. through coordinated action by the EU, national institutions and local and regional authorities"
AM 5: EP report took up CoR's call on the Commission to complete the REFIT evaluations by the end of term "including input from all levels of government in the principal sectors that are of concern to local and regional authorities"
AM 6: has been taken up by the EP, stressing the importance of "simplification for streamlining the regulatory environment for local and regional authorities, whose resources for the implementation of legislation are often limited and diminishing"
AM 10: EP adopted a CoR's amendment calling the Commission for strengthening the territorial dimension of the impact assessments in the context of the Commission's revision of its IA guidelines.

The European Commission, in its 55th follow-up report, appreciates the support and expertise offered by the Committee to reinforce the analysis of regional aspects in impact assessments. The IA guidelines explicitly require Commission services to assess the regional dimension whenever relevant and the Commission services are encouraged to consult the Committee and its networks whenever the initiative has potentially significant regional impacts. Commission welcomes the set-up of the REGPEX platform within the Subsidiarity Monitoring network, to which it has explicitly referred in its Annual Report 2013 on Subsidiarity and Proportionality (COM(2013) 566 final).

The 55th follow-up report also welcomes the CoR's commitment to assist the High Level Group on Administrative Burdens in carrying out its tasks and points to the past years of fruitful cooperation. The Final Report of the Group, handed to President Barroso during the closing conference "Smart Regulation in the EU – Building on a Strong Foundation" on 14 October 2014, makes several references to the CoR and its contributions to the Group's activities and to the monitoring of the REFIT Programme.

Following the Commission's announced revision of its impact assessment guidelines, the CoR has participated in the public consultations on the IA guidelines. In the letter sent by President Lebrun to President Barroso on 7 October 2014, the CoR reiterates its commitment to contribute to transparent, informed and quality decision making in the EU by working further together on territorial impact assessments and subsidiarity monitoring. The CoR calls on the Commission to foster a structured inter-institutional cooperation on IAs and makes a number of specific recommendations towards greater involvement of LRAs in the processes of EU law making.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- recognises that the continuing economic crisis has focused even more attention on the cost of legislation and the challenge of implementing and enforcing laws already in the acquis;

- all levels of governance should ensure that legislation is effective and efficient, and the EU institutions have a particular responsibility to demonstrate the clear added value of EU regulation which should be delivering full benefits at minimum cost and respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;

- welcomes this proposal for a new Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) to systematically identify and transparently carry out initiatives that are intended to result in significant regulatory cost reduction and simplification;

- welcomes the proposal for a mapping exercise to identify laws and/or regulatory areas where there is the potential for simplification and cost reduction without compromising policy objectives, insists that fitness checks should involve input from all levels of government and continues to support systematic ex-post evaluations of EU legislation as an efficient tool of smart regulation;

- reiterates the significance of simplification for streamlining the regulatory environment, especially for local and regional authorities, whose resources for the implementation of legislation are often limited and diminishing;

- welcomes proposals for continuous improvement of impact assessments and reiterates that impact assessments of legislative and policy proposals should explore the territorial dimension of major policy options under examination; should the Commission decide to enlarge the membership of the Impact Assessment Board (IAB), so as to enhance its independence, the CoR considers that local and regional authority interests should be represented;

- urges the European Commission to improve its efforts to translate consultative documents into all official EU languages;

- reiterates the institutions' shared responsibility to inform citizens, businesses and the public at large of the benefits that are to be reaped through the application of the tools inherent in smart regulation;
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