Fitness Checks in Practice - Safety of Passenger Ships: Better Law-Making in action

17-03-2016

It is clear that the fitness check has put great emphasis on assessing the available evidence as thoroughly as possible. However, the lack of data remains an issue, and although this is made clear, at times some conclusions, related to accidents or change of flag for example, could have been more nuanced, given the relative unreliability of the data. To what extent this affects the overall conclusions of the report is less clear. In particular, could they have been more wide-ranging if the data had been better? The final conclusions on simplifications are relatively straightforward, identifying overlap and outdated requirements, while some of the more difficult questions remain less answered. This is particularly the case in terms of accidents, where more and stronger evidence on the role of EU legislation in improving passenger safety would be especially helpful. As mentioned in the report, better data collection and monitoring systems are required for robust post-implementation assessments to be carried out. While the remit of the fitness check has a clear logic, the fact that the same Directives were previously included in an evaluation potentially dilutes the idea of a fitness check being broader than an evaluation. A clearer differentiation between evaluations and fitness checks along with increased transparency around the initial scoping decisions would be helpful. As the fitness checks become more established, the use of an initial roadmap and stakeholder feedback will hopefully go some way in addressing the issue.

It is clear that the fitness check has put great emphasis on assessing the available evidence as thoroughly as possible. However, the lack of data remains an issue, and although this is made clear, at times some conclusions, related to accidents or change of flag for example, could have been more nuanced, given the relative unreliability of the data. To what extent this affects the overall conclusions of the report is less clear. In particular, could they have been more wide-ranging if the data had been better? The final conclusions on simplifications are relatively straightforward, identifying overlap and outdated requirements, while some of the more difficult questions remain less answered. This is particularly the case in terms of accidents, where more and stronger evidence on the role of EU legislation in improving passenger safety would be especially helpful. As mentioned in the report, better data collection and monitoring systems are required for robust post-implementation assessments to be carried out. While the remit of the fitness check has a clear logic, the fact that the same Directives were previously included in an evaluation potentially dilutes the idea of a fitness check being broader than an evaluation. A clearer differentiation between evaluations and fitness checks along with increased transparency around the initial scoping decisions would be helpful. As the fitness checks become more established, the use of an initial roadmap and stakeholder feedback will hopefully go some way in addressing the issue.