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Reden, Interviews

19.04.2006

European Conference on Subsidiarity, Keynote Speech by Joseph Daul


Better Regulation: The European Parliament's Contribution

 

Thank you for the invitation to participate today in your meeting in order to briefly explain the contribution the European Parliament is doing to better law-making in the European Union.

From its beginning, the European Union has been working very hard to improve the lives of the European people. And we all consider that this must continue to be our aim, by enhancing, accountability, transparency and efficiency in the decision making process of the European Institutions.

The confidence and trust of citizens, consumers and business in the European Union is linked to their experience and perception of the European Union laws and the impact they have on their daily lives.

That's why we are focussing a lot of our energy at present on Better lawmaking. Because Better lawmaking is not only a way to make legislation simpler and more understandable for the citizens but also a very efficient way to make the EU institutions closer to them and to the businesses, in particular to Small and Medium Enterprises, putting less burden on their activities.

That's our common challenge on Better Law making: to ensure that legislation adopted by the EU institutions facilitates the lives of EU citizens and EU business activities.

In my capacity of Chairman of the Lisbon coordination group in the European Parliament, I am also aware of the great amount of work that needs to be done in the Better regulation field in order to achieve the objectives of the Lisbon strategy and make the European Union the most competitive place to do business in the world. Better law-making is an important element of the Lisbon agenda and its success.

The European Parliament, aware of this need, is at the origin of the Better law-making agreement that was signed on the 16 December 2003 by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Subsidiarity, proportionality, together with democratic legitimacy and legal certainty remain the fundamental principles on which the all EU legislation should be based.

The key elements for better law-making, addressed by this Agreement, are the following:

1) Better coordination of the legislative process among the 3 Institutions:

The idea is not to impose new special binding procedures, but to improve the common achievement of shared objectives, adopting a result-oriented approach, as for example in the Lisbon agenda area.

Programming is an important tool for more transparency in the legislative process, more efficiency and for ensuring that the Institutions deliver their objectives. It will make the legislative process more comprehensible for the European citizens and therefore would get closer to them.

2) Use of impact assessment:

Impact Assessment is the most innovative aspect of the Interinstitutionnal Agreement, looking at the economic, social and environmental impact of EU legislative proposals.

Impact Assessment has an important role to play in improving the quality of EU legislation, being the instrument for exploring the range of legislative and non-legislative options.

It does not have to be considered as a political justification for further legislation but an instrument to suggest whether a further legislation is needed. Impact Assessment is a tool for better decision, but not an aim in itself. It is in no sense a substitute for political decision in the democratic decision-making process.

It is also important to stress that the Impact Assessment, in order to be credible, requires that different people than those preparing the legislative proposal, will check the analysis delivered in order to be as objective as possible.

Parliamentary committees have started producing Impact Assessment on substantive amendments  presented to the legislative proposal, and the experience acquired so far is rather positive.

3) Better transposition and implementation of EU law:

Further legislation will not be worth if the existing one is not correctly transposed at national level.

The Kok Report on the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy, for example, points out that delayed and poor transposition of Community directives into national law is one of the main obstacles to the establishment of the internal market, and thus to accomplish the objectives of the Lisbon Agenda.

The European Parliament has a legitimate interest in ensuring the proper transposition and application of legislation to which it has actively contributed, in particular acts adopted under codecision. It is important that the European Parliament is able to look into the effects of the legislation it has adopted.

That is why Parliamentary committees are developing a series of methods in order to enhance its role in the implementation of Community legislation while bringing added value to the process (regular question-time with the responsible Commissioner on implementation, own-initiative reports on the implementation of a certain directive, hearings in the parliamentary committee on the implementation of EU law in a certain area, etc).

We are also convinced of the need for increased cooperation with the national parliaments which have an invaluable role to play in monitoring the application of Community law at national level.

4) Simplification of existing EU law and withdrawn of legislative proposals

Simplification is a key tool for better competitiveness, especially for our Small and Medium enterprises

The Commission’s communication on simplification of 25 October 2005 proposes a new approach and a 3 year simplification rolling programme in this area. The European Parliament welcomes the Commission’s approach and put forward some further proposals to make more efficient the simplification method proposed by the Commission.

The Parliament shares the main areas pointed out for simplification, and want to play an active role in the area.

Parliament considers that simplification actions should be included in the Annual Legislative Work Programme for the future

Parliament is ready to explore new methods to proceed in this kind of simplification in the future, with accelerate procedures.

Regarding simplification, I would also like to comment on the Commission Communication of 27 September 2005 announcing its intention of withdrawing 68 legislative proposals, inconsistent with the Lisbon Strategy. The European Parliament has welcomed this initiative and quickly reacted on the specific proposals.

But as regards the general question of withdrawals, the European Parliament proposes an interinstitutional understanding on common guidelines for the withdrawal by the Commission of legislative proposals, stressing 2 elements:

- Each withdrawal must be guided by Community interest and be duly justified

- The Commission may withdraw or modify a legislative proposal at any time as long as the Council has not acted (i.e., before the Council adopts its common position under the codecision procedure).

5) Better use of comitology

Comitology is a key tool for better EU law by less detailed legal texts and their implementation through comitology measures.

A new comitology decision should put the European Parliament and the Council on an equal footing by foreseeing the "call-back right” for “quasi-legislative” measures under the codecision procedure.

In this respect, a negotiation is at present under way among the three institutions for a new comitology decision.

6) More use of alternative methods of regulation

Co-regulation and self-regulation are 2 alternatives methods of regulation aiming at lightening and reducing the burden of legislation and the amount of legal acts:

Co-regulation: is the mechanism by which a legislative act allows stakeholders (economic operators, social partners, NGOs, associations) to achieve the objectives set up by the legislative authority.

Self-regulation: is on the contrary the possibility left to economic operators, social partners, NGOs, associations to adopt among themselves common benchmark at EU level (code of conduct or sectorial agreement)

The European Parliament expects to be properly informed by the Commission on the proposals to adopt co-regulation measures, asking also to include a list of these measures in the Annual Legislative Working Programme.

The European Commission proposes to extend the use of these instruments to the following sectors: medical devices, machinery, cosmetics, noise emissions by machines, health and safety at work, internet, e-commerce, data protection.

While preserving its own prerogatives as colegislator, the European Parliament believes that these alternatives methods, if applied transparently, will be useful tools in the framework of better law-making. They can increase the participation of stakeholders in the decision-making process. SMEs will surely benefit from them as they will be able to make their own laws in the field that concern them the most. This will be crucial for the relaunch of our economy and above all for the well-being of our people.

 

Dear Madam and Sirs,

This summary overall view shows how the European Parliament is actively involved in the development of all the key areas concerning Better Law Making at European Union level.

In the European Parliament at present various reports from different committees (JURI, IMCO, AFCO) are dealing with different aspects of Better law making, and for the first time in the last plenary we held a comprehensive debate in plenary on Better Law Making involving all of them.

Better Law Making has to become a concept familiar to all 732 MEPs, that is our challenge in the European Parliament for the future. It has to be a mainstreaming concept in all our legislative activity, and reform, if necessary, our working culture.

Because we need to deliver what EU citizens and business are expecting from us: good law, well drafted, easy to implement, easy to enforce and police. This is what will restore their confidence in the European Parliament and in the European Union: Let’s work together for it!.

Thank you very much for your attention.

 

Datum: 19.04.2006