EC urged to cut regulations

3rd November 2014

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  • EU


Mark Grainger

Small businesses should be exempt from EU regulations, according to one of the recommendations of a group looking at how to reduce "red tape".

The European commission’s high-level group on administrative burdens, chaired by German politician Dr Edmund Stoiber, published its final report in October. It makes several recommendations aimed at “eliminating unnecessary and bureaucratic red tape” in order to strengthen the economies of member states.

First, it suggests setting a new target on cutting regulation and an action plan to implement it. The commission should also introduce an offsetting mechanism whereby new regulations are only brought in if others are removed, it states.

Another recommendation is to exempt small and medium-size enterprises from EU regulations as long as the political aim of the legislation is not jeopardised. It also urges the commission to establish an independent body to scrutinise impact assessments before new rules and regulations are adopted. In addition, it calls for the creation of an EU-wide ombudsman to act as a contact point for complaints by businesses about regulation.

“All protagonists involved in the legislative process need to be more ambitious in reducing regulatory costs, taking into account consumer and employee protection as well as health and environment concerns,” the report states.

However, four of the group of 15 said they did not support the final report, and accused it of pursuing an outdated agenda. A dissenting opinion was published alongside the report.

It was written by Nina Renshaw, deputy director of the campaign group Transport & Environment, Heidi Rønne-Møller, EU adviser for the Danish confederation of trade unions, Monika Kosinska, former secretary general of health campaigners EPHA, and Jim Murray, former director of consumer affairs organisation BEUC. They argue that Stoiber’s recommendations would come at the expense of health, safety and environmental protection.

Pieter de Pous, policy director at the European Environmental Bureau, claimed that the recommendations would take Europe back 30 years. “By promoting deregulation as a recipe for more jobs and growth, this group has entered the realm of fact free policy making,” said de Pous.

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