Procedure : 2014/2967(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0316/2014

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 27/11/2014 - 10.6
CRE 27/11/2014 - 10.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0311/2014

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the Commission’s impact assessment guidelines (2014/2967(RSP))

Dennis de Jong, João Ferreira on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

B8‑0316/2014 European Parliament resolution on the Commissions impact assessment guidelines (2014/2967(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the recent public consultation on the revision of the Commission’s impact assessment (IA) guidelines and the respective draft revised impact assessment guidelines,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas IAs, as an early-stage tool when legislation is being developed, play a key role in the Commission’s smart regulation agenda with the purpose of providing transparent, comprehensive and balanced evidence on the nature of the problem to be addressed, the added value of EU action and the cost and benefits of alternative courses of action for all stakeholders;

B.     whereas the existing IA guidelines provide for a central role to be assigned to the Commission’s Secretariat-General and the Impact Assessment Board (IAB) as regards the decision on whether or not an impact assessment is necessary for a specific initiative;

C.     whereas the IAB plays an important role as a central quality control point for impact assessments;

D.     whereas a proper and independent IA is of particular relevance for micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as for mutuals and cooperatives, which often encounter more difficulties than large enterprises in adapting to new legal and administrative requirements and by reason of their size are less capable of anticipating regulatory changes at an early stage;

E.     whereas the ‘Think Small First’ principle aims at taking SMEs’ interests into account at the very early stages of policymaking in order to make legislation more SME-friendly; whereas a range of tools is available to ensure the effective implementation of the principle, including the application of an SME test to forthcoming legislative proposals;

F.     whereas the current impact assessment guidelines provide for specific guidance in the form of an ‘SME test’, including for possible mitigation measures; whereas the draft revised guidelines do not include any provisions on the SME test;

G.     whereas it is important that stakeholders such as SME organisations, trade unions and NGOs should be able to make valuable contributions to the public consultations: whereas, however, these organisations are threatened by insufficient funding; whereas concrete actions should be taken to remedy this;


1.      Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to regularly reviewing the impact assessment guidelines with a view to improving the impact assessment procedures;

2.      Is concerned, however, that the draft revised guidelines are much less specific than the existing guidelines in terms of the scope for IAs and that they leave significantly more room for interpretation by the directorate-general responsible as regards the decision whether or not an IA is required; believes that the existing practices involving the IAB and Secretariat-General in the decision-making process should be retained;

3.      Believes that the Commission should maintain its existing approach of submitting an IA for all initiatives meeting at least one of the following criteria:

–       legislative proposals included in the Commission’s Legislative and Work Programme (CLWP);

–       non-CLWP legislative proposals with clearly identifiable economic, social, and environmental impacts;

–       non-legislative initiatives which define future policies (e.g. white papers, action plans, expenditure programmes and negotiating guidelines for international agreements);

–       delegated or implementing acts which are likely to have significant impacts;

4.      Notes that the scope of an IA may in some cases not correspond to the proposals adopted where these are altered once submitted for approval by the College of Commissioners; requests that the draft revised guidelines state that the IA should be updated to ensure continuity between matters considered in it and any proposal finally adopted by the Commission;

Impact Assessment Board (IAB)

5.      Expresses serious concern at the fact that the role of the IAB in the impact assessment process is not more clearly defined in the draft revised guidelines; strongly insists that the Commission reconsider this omission and set out procedures relating to the IAB more clearly in a new set of draft revised guidelines when responding to Parliament and that any initiative which requires an IA should be subject to a positive opinion from the IAB;

6.      Is of the opinion that the IAB should be fully independent, serving not only the Commission, but whenever relevant also the European Parliament and the European Council;

SME test

7.      Recalls that in its 2011 review of the Small Business Act the Commission considered it regrettable that only eight Member States had integrated the SME test into their national decision-making processes; welcomes the clear commitment by the Commission in that review to further strengthening the SME test; deplores, however, that contrary to these announcements, the SME test is not even mentioned in the draft revised IA guidelines;

8.      Insists that the SME test, as laid down in Annex 8 to the guidelines, should be maintained in order to avoid SMEs being disproportionately affected or disadvantaged by Commission initiatives compared with large companies;

9.      Stresses that in such cases the IA should include options covering alternative mechanisms and/or flexibilities in order to help SMEs comply with the initiative (as provided for in Annex 8.4); welcomes, in this connection, the a priori exclusion of micro-enterprises from the scope of a legislative proposal as a policy option stated in the draft revised guidelines;

10.    Considers that the current practice, in which framework contracts are concluded with large corporations, effectively excludes SMEs, public universities and research institutions from competing for these contracts; calls on the Commission to change this practice;

Impact Assessments in Parliament

11.    Calls for Commission IAs to be examined systematically and as early as possible by Parliament, and in particular at committee level;

12.    Recalls its resolution of 8 June 2011 on guaranteeing independent impact assessments(1), in which it called for more consistent use to be made of parliamentary impact assessments; also recalls that the Impact Assessment Unit is an instrument which is already available to carry out impact assessments; considers that recourse to a parliamentary impact assessment is particularly necessary prior to the adoption of any substantive changes/amendments to an initial Commission proposal;

Social Impact Assessments

13.    Strongly criticises the lack of consideration shown by the Commission with regard to the social consequences for people in the programme countries; is of the opinion that, also in general, the social effects of Commission proposals and decisions have not been taken sufficiently into account;

14.    Welcomes the plans for social impact assessments as stated in President Juncker’s political priorities, but considers that such social impact assessments should also be integrated into the impact assessment guidelines, in order to include the effects of proposals on employment, poverty and social cohesion, as well as the environmental impact, in future impact assessments;


°       °

15.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and the Council.


OJ C 380E, 11.12.2012, p. 31.

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