Motor vehicles: New approval and market surveillance rules - Initial Appraisal of a European Commission Impact Assessment

15-04-2016

This briefing seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying its proposal on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers, adopted on 27 January 2016 and referred to Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO). This IA is the result of a process of analysis and consultation that started in 2010. It accompanies a proposal which the Commission presented rapidly after the Volkswagen case and in response to the calls made by Parliament in its resolution of October 2015. Some useful information can be found in the IA; however, even bearing in mind that impact assessments should not unduly delay the legislative process, an initial appraisal of its quality would suggest that this IA is not presented in a way that facilitates consideration by the co-legislators. The decision to publish the IA in two parts does not help overall comprehension, despite an honest attempt to show the links between the two. The problem definition devotes limited attention to the social and environmental consequences. The framing of the options makes it difficult to distinguish between essential and non-essential elements. Moreover, by the Commission's own admission, the monetisation of benefits is not sufficiently robust and gives an impression of certainty to estimates which are in fact surrounded by a high degree of uncertainty. All of these elements compromise to some extent the quality of the IA. Finally, the internal quality assurance procedures do not appear to be fully in line with BR principles, in that this IA is accompanied only by the original 2014 opinion of the IA Board, which corresponds to the measures planned at that time, without any update covering the additional material provided later in part 2 of the IA.

This briefing seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying its proposal on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers, adopted on 27 January 2016 and referred to Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO). This IA is the result of a process of analysis and consultation that started in 2010. It accompanies a proposal which the Commission presented rapidly after the Volkswagen case and in response to the calls made by Parliament in its resolution of October 2015. Some useful information can be found in the IA; however, even bearing in mind that impact assessments should not unduly delay the legislative process, an initial appraisal of its quality would suggest that this IA is not presented in a way that facilitates consideration by the co-legislators. The decision to publish the IA in two parts does not help overall comprehension, despite an honest attempt to show the links between the two. The problem definition devotes limited attention to the social and environmental consequences. The framing of the options makes it difficult to distinguish between essential and non-essential elements. Moreover, by the Commission's own admission, the monetisation of benefits is not sufficiently robust and gives an impression of certainty to estimates which are in fact surrounded by a high degree of uncertainty. All of these elements compromise to some extent the quality of the IA. Finally, the internal quality assurance procedures do not appear to be fully in line with BR principles, in that this IA is accompanied only by the original 2014 opinion of the IA Board, which corresponds to the measures planned at that time, without any update covering the additional material provided later in part 2 of the IA.