‘Better regulation’ is about creating legislation that achieves its objectives while being targeted, effective, easy to comply with and with the least burden possible.
To do this, the Commission uses various regulatory instruments:
comprehensive evaluations and fitness checks involve thorough analysis of how existing legislation and spending programmes have been performing, to check that they are efficient, effective, relevant and coherent, and that EU-level intervention is actually adding value;
impact assessments look at the problems to be tackled, the objectives to be achieved, the trade-offs to consider, options for action and their potential impacts;
input from stakeholders supports this work throughout the policy cycle, to provide policymakers with the best possible evidence base; and
compliance promotion tools help Member States transpose, implement and apply EU law in a timely and correct manner.
The recently adopted ‘better regulation’ Communication reiterates the call for evidence-informed policymaking, a stronger approach to stakeholder consultation, burden reduction and the analysis of key impacts, and the integration of strategic foresight. All this is based on the results of a 2019 stocktaking of the Commission’s ‘better regulation’ policy.
These guidelines build on the key aspects of the ‘better regulation’ Communication. They explain what ‘better regulation’ is and how it applies to the day-to-day practices of Commission officials preparing new initiatives and proposals, or managing existing policies and legislation. The ‘better regulation’ toolbox, in turn, provides operational and detailed guidance on specific aspects.
These guidelines are internal instructions for the Commission staff3 in order to deliver the objectives of ‘better regulation’; in so far as they formulate ‘requirements’ and/or ‘mandatory’ instructions, they cannot be construed as legally binding rules or legal commitments towards outside actors and stakeholders. The guidelines should be read and applied by all Commission officials involved in regulatory activities and managers responsible for quality control and for the allocation of resources. ‘Better regulation’ cannot be implemented without dedicated financial and human resources. Central services and Directorates-General (DGs) must therefore ensure that appropriate centres of expertise (or functions) and training are available to support the proper implementation of the various aspects of ‘better regulation’ according to the principles outlined in these guidelines.