Thu. Oct 6th, 2022
Brussels, 17 August 2022
See question(s) : E-002335/2022
Answer given by Vice-President Šefčovič
on behalf of the European Commission
Businesses across Europe face unprecedented challenges stemming from Covid-19, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, geopolitical and economic developments and dependencies, as well as the need to master the twin green and digital transition. That’s why it is indeed more important than ever to have legislation that delivers maximum benefits for the least costs, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The Commission carries out an analysis of costs and benefits whenever it proposes new initiatives or revises existing ones. This involves carefully looking at cost-efficient approaches and ensuring that the estimated benefits of any initiative outweigh the costs. This is part of the better regulation approach and applied to the initiatives highlighted, of which many are related to achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal and making Europe fit for the digital age. The Commission does not have the power to suspend EU legislation once its proposals have been formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council and have become EU law. As regards the Commission proposals that are still pending, they are currently subject to the interinstitutional negotiations involving the European Parliament and the Council and the Commission will pay particular attention to the amendments that could be put forward with a view to minimise the impact on businesses.
Part of the Commission’s revised better regulation approach is a particular focus on the ‘think small first’ principle and considering ways to minimise burdens for SMEs. The application of the ‘SME test’ has been strengthened, which must be performed in all impact assessments, where proportionate1. The SME envoy network is also helping by signalling new initiatives to the Commission that have relevant impact on SMEs and require close attention in the policy preparation phase as well as by feeding ideas into the work of the Fit for Future Platform2 that is helping the Commission to simplify existing EU laws and reduce related unnecessary costs. The Commission’s burden reduction efforts have also been further strengthened through the new ‘one in, one out’ approach. This implies that the Commission systematically and proactively seeks to offset new burdens resulting from its legislative proposals by equivalently reducing burdens imposed by existing legislation in the same policy area. The first lessons learned from the pilot project phase that started in the second half of 2021 have just been reported in the Annual Burden Survey3. It flags that its implementation represents a paradigm change, that it adjusted working methods upon which some first benefits could be observed in terms of enhanced quantification of costs. Since this year, the Commission is fully implementing the approach, which it is monitoring closely and upon which it will report next year. The survey also reports on the progress in the Commission’s simplification and burden reduction work and from the follow-up of the work of the Fit for Future Platform.  This shows that the Commission remains fully committed to quality legislation, which is proportionate and effective while continuing to make every effort to reduce unnecessary red tape. As stressed in the Communication on ‘Joining forces to make better laws’4, it should be flagged that this remains however a shared effort with the European Parliament, the Council, Member States and local and regional authorities.

See tool #23 of the Better Regulation toolbox at
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