Do the Results of the EU Better Regulation Program Match Its Ambitions?

Editor’s Note: “Strategic planning with political oversight halved the number of regulatory proposals….” Perhaps the Better Regulation program is a de facto regulatory budget under another name.

From: The Regulatory Review

Elizabeth Golberg

The Better Regulation program, built over the past two decades, has allowed the EU to regulate more effectively.


The Better Regulation program further strengthened quality control and deployed strategic planning and political oversight measures to reduce the flow of new initiatives. Systematic ex post review of both laws and policy areas, prompted by and benefiting from stakeholder feedback were at the core of the Regulatory Fitness Program (REFIT) which aims to ensure that EU laws remain fit for purpose. The European Parliament and the European Council renewed their commitment to engage in the Better Regulation effort, agreeing to assess the impacts of their amendments to Commission proposals and to support ex post review.

Results are lining up with ambitions. Strategic planning with political oversight halved the number of regulatory proposals made during the current Commission’s first two years compared to the same period under the previous Commission. Impact assessments accompany over 80 percent of proposals going to the legislature. By the end of 2017, 75 percent of all impact assessments were supported by ex post evaluations, compared to 50 percent in 2016. This shows that ex post policy evaluations are being done more systematically, feeding into impact assessments for new laws or amendments to existing ones. Public consultation has also surged. In 2017, 92 percent of impact assessments were supported by open public consultation compared to 38 percent in 2015.

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