The main aspects of the Better Regulation Package
For the Impact Assessment Institute, the tangible deliverables of the Better Regulation Package are of greatest importance. These are presented below:
Roadmaps and inception impact assessments: at the very start of its decision-making process, the Commission publishes a document outlining the key elements of the policy, including the need for action, the main aims of the initiative, the planned actions and timeframe. In cases where an Impact Assessment will support the Commission proposal, this document is called an Inception Impact Assessment. When no IA will be made, the document is called a Roadmap.
Impact assessments: when the Commission publishes its policy or regulatory proposal, this is often accompanied by an Impact Assessment assessing the evidence base relevant to the policy. As part of the new guidelines, stakeholders are given an 8 week window to comment on the content of the impact assessments.
Evaluations and Fitness Checks: the aim of the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme, better known as REFIT, is to make EU law simpler. Two REFIT platforms, consisting of EU Member States representatives and stakeholders respectively, are pivotal for the prioritisation of the activities under REFIT and the possible simplification proposals that will follow. Simplification suggestions are likely to be subject to evaluation before any changes to EU legislation are proposed.
Stakeholder consultation: consultation of stakeholders is a central guiding principle under the Better Regulation Package and is now embedded throughout the regulatory process:
At inception - Inception Impact Assessments and Roadmaps serve a dual purpose. They are meant to inform stakeholders about proposals that the Commission starts working on and they are meant to invite stakeholders to get in touch with the Commission and discuss the issues at hand.
During preparation - The Commission organises public consultations through ‘Your Voice in Europe’ and targeted consultations in which it singles out stakeholders that are expected to be significantly affected by the actions it will propose. Consultation practices differ significantly between files and types of initiatives. They are elaborate for White Papers, Policy Communications and legislative proposals. They are more limited for Delegated and Implementing Acts.
When a legislative proposal is adopted - the Commission gives stakeholders eight weeks to analyse a proposal with the supporting Impact Assessment once the proposal has been adopted by the College and is published. Stakeholder comments will be taken into account when the Commission starts its interactions with the Council and the European Parliament. Stakeholders have a window of four weeks to react to drafts of Delegated and Implementing Acts.
As part of the evaluation and review process for EU legislation and policies - in lockstep with the IA process, the Commission invites stakeholders to react to the Evaluation Roadmap and the public consultation in case it is organised. Under REFIT, the Commission created two stakeholder platforms with the role to expand the programme's scope and to receive early feedback on evaluation outcomes.