Procedure : 2010/2016(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0159/2011

Texts tabled :

A7-0159/2011

Debates :

PV 06/06/2011 - 22
CRE 06/06/2011 - 22

Votes :

PV 08/06/2011 - 6.6
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0259

REPORT     
PDF 238kWORD 166k
18 April 2011
PE 454.384v03-00 A7-0159/2011

on guaranteeing independent impact assessments

(2010/2016(INI))

Committee on Legal Affairs

Rapporteur: Angelika Niebler

AMENDMENTS
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
 OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on guaranteeing independent impact assessments

(2010/2016(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which entered into force on 1 December 2009,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 8 October 2010 on Smart Regulation in the European Union (COM(2010)0543),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 September 2010 on better lawmaking – 15th annual report from the Commission pursuant to Article 9 of the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality (1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 21 October 2008 on better lawmaking 2006 pursuant to Article 9 of the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 September 2007 on better lawmaking 2005: application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality – 13th annual report(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2007 on minimising administrative costs imposed by legislation(4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 May 2006 on better lawmaking 2004: application of the principle of subsidiarity – 12th annual report(5),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 April 2004 on assessment of the impact of Community legislation and the consultation procedures(6),

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement on better law-making concluded between Parliament, the Council and the Commission on 16 December 2003,

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Common Approach to Impact Assessments concluded between Parliament, the Council and the Commission in November 2005,

–   having regard to Special Report No 3/2010 of the European Court of Auditors,

–   having regard to the results of the study commissioned by the European Parliament on impact assessments in the EU Member States,

–   having regard to the Commission’s Impact Assessment Guidelines of 15 January 2009, and the annexes thereto (SEC(2009)0092),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 5 June 2002 on impact assessment (COM(2002)0276),

–   having regard to the Framework Agreement of 20 October 2010 between Parliament and the Commission,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 28 October 2010 on an Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era: Putting Competitiveness and Sustainability at Centre Stage (COM(2010)614),

–   having regard to the Impact Assessment Board Report for 2010 of 24 January 2011 (SEC(2011)0126),

–   having regard to the letter of 16 November 2010 from the Chair of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality to the rapporteur on the experiences gained from an impact assessment conducted concerning the effect of extending maternity leave to 20 weeks,

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A7-0159/2011),

A. whereas impact assessments present a systematic evaluation of the likely effects of legislative action,

B.  whereas establishing a transparent, clear, effective and high-quality regulatory environment should be a priority objective of European Union policy,

C. whereas impact assessments make a positive contribution to the overall enhancement of the quality of EU legislation in the interest of better lawmaking,

D. whereas the problems arising in the transposition and implementation of current EU law are partly the result of inadequately drafted legislative texts, and whereas all European legislative bodies share the responsibility for this,

E.  Whereas the Lisbon Treaty contains horizontal social and environmental clauses (Art. 9 and 11 TFEU) which have to be taken into account in defining and implementing the Union's policies and activities and require an in-depth analysis of the social and environmental impact of any proposed legislation;

F.  whereas, when adopting new laws and simplifying and recasting existing laws, impact assessments can serve to improve the evaluation of their social, economic, environmental and health effects and their compatibility with fundamental rights, and thus help reduce bureaucracy, as well as ensure the consistency of the EU's policies in reaching the overarching objectives set by the European Council,

G. whereas the Impact Assessment Board (IAB) is considered by the Commission to be independent although it is under the authority of the President of the Commission and is composed of high-level officials from several DGs and chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General; whereas this leads to an information bias and thus to a violation of necessary neutrality,

H. whereas Parliament has on a number of occasions expressed support for the use of independent impact assessments in the European Union,

I.   whereas the impact assessments carried out by the Commission are inconsistent in their quality level and frequently serve rather to justify a legislative proposal than to permit an objective consideration of the facts,

J.   whereas impact assessments may be used to create unnecessary bureaucratic impediments to the further development or entry into force of European legislation and policies,

K. whereas Parliament, the Council and the Commission in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 16 December 2003, the Interinstitutional Common Approach to Impact Assessments of November 2005, and Parliament and the Commission in the Framework Agreement of 20 October 2010, undertook to set an agenda for better lawmaking, and whereas this resolution contains concrete proposals for improving impact assessments,

L.  whereas the Commission is pursuing a new kind of approach in industrial policy, whereby all political proposals with significant effects on the economy should be analysed in detail as to their impact on competitiveness,

General requirements for impact assessments at European level

1.  Stresses that impact assessments are an important aid to smart and better lawmaking during the whole policy cycle which the makers of EU law should exploit more often in order to help them evaluate more effectively the economic, social, environmental and health related consequences of their policy options, as well as their impact on citizens' fundamental rights, bearing in mind that cost/benefit-analysis constitutes one criterion among others;

2.  Welcomes the Smart Regulation Communication, and emphasises that impact assessments should play a key role throughout the whole policy cycle, from design to implementation, enforcement, evaluation and to the revision of legislation; stresses the importance of well-considered and fully informed decision-making at the design stage of legislative proposals, because this can lead to both improved quality of outcomes and a shorter legislative process;

3.  Stresses the need for thorough impact assessments as a prerequisite for high-quality legislation and correct transposition, application and enforcement;

4.  Stresses that an impact assessment is in no way a substitute for political debate and the legislator’s decision-making process but merely serves to help the technical preparation of a political decision;

5.  Stresses that impact assessments need to be carried out in the early stages of policy development; emphasises that they should be completely independent and should always be based on an objective, reasoned analysis of potential effects;

6.  Stresses that, in line with the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking, co-legislators have undertaken to carry out impact assessments when they consider this to be appropriate and necessary for the legislative process, prior to the adoption of any substantive amendment;

7.  Considers it necessary to involve external experts from all policy areas as well as all stakeholder groups affected in the impact assessment process in order to guarantee independence and objectivity; stresses in this connection the fundamental distinction between public consultation and independent impact assessment; notes that the final outcome and the control of the methodology and quality of the impact assessment should remain with the European Union institutions in order to ensure that they are carried out to the same high standard;

8.  Calls for the maximum of transparency when drawing up impact assessments, including the early publication of comprehensive Road Maps of proposed legislation to ensure equal access to the legislative procedure for all stakeholders; considers therefore also that the Commission's current consultation period should be extended to 12 weeks;

9.  Takes the view that it should not be possible for impact assessments on projects or legislation sponsored by public administrations or their dependent undertakings to be approved by the administration concerned;

10. Considers that it is essential that impact assessments are scrutinised by Member States ex-ante, to assess the effects of proposed legislation on national laws and public policies; calls for greater ex-post evaluation to be carried out and for further consideration of the inclusion of mandatory correlation tables to ensure that EU legislation has been correctly implemented by Member States and has met its objectives;

11. Believes the impact assessment to be a suitable instrument for verifying the relevance of Commission proposals, and in particular compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and for explaining more clearly to the co-legislators and the public at large the reasons behind opting for a given measure;

12. Stresses that the key elements of a good impact assessment are recognition of the problem, consultation of the parties concerned, definition of the objectives to be achieved and the elaboration of strategic policy options;

13. Considers it important for new legislative proposals to be accompanied by an impact assessment; notes that this may also apply to the simplification and recasting of EU law and to delegated acts and implementing acts pursuant to Articles 290 and 291 TFEU, where appropriate;

14. Regards the impact assessment as a ‘living document’ forming part of the lawmaking process; stresses the need to guarantee sufficient flexibility so that further impact assessments can be conducted during the lawmaking process;

15. Calls for impact assessments to not focus exclusively on cost/benefit-analysis but to take a large number of criteria into account, in accordance with the principle of an integrated approach, in order to provide the legislator with as comprehensive a picture as possible; draws attention in this context to the economic, social and environmental aspects referred to in the interinstitutional agreement of 16 December 2003 and the common approach of 2005, which are to be combined in a single evaluation; underlines, in this respect, the need to ensure consistency between policies and activities of the EU by taking all of its objectives into account and in accordance with the principle of conferral of powers as laid down in Article 7 TFEU;

16. Urges that, in connection with the impact assessment, a cost-benefit analysis – i.e. an examination of the cost-efficiency of all programmes and measures involving expenditure – should always be carried out, and potential implications for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) examined; calls in this connection for the consistent application of the ‘SME test’ proposed in the 2008 Small Business Act; recalls in this context that in every law imposing burdens on SMEs there should be a careful evaluation of existing regulations with the aim at reducing the overall regulatory burden on SMEs;

17. Calls, in the context of impact assessments, for an intensive analysis to be carried out on all new policy proposals with significant effects on industrial competitiveness; further calls for an ex-post assessment of the impact of EU legislation on the competitiveness of the European economy; notes that the Commission in fact promised such a procedure in its communication on an Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era;

18. Emphasises the need to learn lessons from the ex-post evaluation of existing legislation and an analysis of relevant case law of the Court of Justice, and for a proper discussion to take place on the strategic choices available in a certain policy area before new legislation is proposed;

19. Urges that impact assessments at European level should look into the European added-value in terms of what savings will result from a European solution and/or what supplementary costs would arise for the Member States in the absence of a European solution;

20. Believes that the impact on EU economic partnerships as well as the implications of choosing a specific European standard instead of an international standard should be taken into consideration in impact assessments;

21. Stresses that impact assessments must fully consider the alternatives available to the legislator, which should always include a serious examination of the option of taking no action;

22. Stresses that impact assessments must not lead to more bureaucracy and unnecessary delays in the legislative procedure; however, impact assessments must be allowed sufficient time in order to produce a reliable result; further stresses in this connection that impact assessments should not be abused as a means of holding up unwanted legislation; urges, therefore, that the technical and administrative conditions be created to ensure that impact assessments are carried out speedily and promptly, e.g. through such instruments as framework agreements, accelerated tendering procedures and the optimal use of resources;

23. Urges, in accordance with the Best Practice principle, that use be made of experience gained in other countries where impact assessments have already been carried out for several years, in order to further improve impact assessments at EU level;

24. Calls for impact assessments to be updated during the course of the legislative process as a whole, to enable account to be taken of changes occurring during this process;

25. Stresses that impact assessments should not take place only before the adoption of a legislative text (ex-ante) but should also be carried out after its adoption (ex-post); points out that this is necessary in order to evaluate more accurately whether the objectives of a law have actually been achieved and whether a legal act should be amended or retained; stresses nevertheless that the ex-post evaluation should never replace the Commission's duty as "Guardian of the Treaties" to monitor effectively and in a timely manner the application of Union law by Member States;

26. Underlines the Commission's primary responsibility for conducting high quality impact assessments of its proposals when exercising its right of initiative in accordance with the Treaty;

Potential for improvement at Commission level

27. Acknowledges that the quality of Commission impact assessments has gone up in recent years, but stresses that there is further need for improvement;

28. Refers in this connection to the Commission’s Impact Assessment Board (IAB) founded in 2006, which is responsible for the development of Commission impact assessments;

29. Stresses that the members of the IAB are independent only in formal terms, since they are currently appointed by and subject to the instructions of the Commission President, and cannot therefore be said to be fully independent; calls, therefore, for the members of the IAB to be scrutinized by the European Parliament and the Council prior to appointment and no longer be subject to the instructions of the Commission President; calls for the work of the IAB and experts to take place in the public remit with the highest transparency so that their independence can be verified in practice;

30. Calls also for the involvement of experts from all policy areas as well as all stakeholder groups affected in the IAB’s work; call for these experts to come from outside the Commission and not be subject to instructions;

31. Calls for the early and comprehensive involvement – including by means of notification and interim reports – of the European Parliament, and in particular of its relevant committees, in the whole impact assessment process and in the work of the IAB; invites the Commission to provide Parliament and the Council with two-to-four-page summaries with the full impact assessment, including when relevant an explanation for the reasons for not carrying out an impact assessment, when submitting the legislative proposal in order to verify that all relevant issues are addressed without jeopardizing the independence of the assessment by influencing the actual evaluation;

32. Notes that, in carrying out its impact assessments, the Commission should also consult with the Member States, because the latter must later transpose the directives into national law, and national authorities usually know better how legal provisions will work in practice;

33. Emphasises that smart regulation based on complete and objective impact assessment remains the shared responsibility of the European institutions, and that the Commission must therefore also take into account feedback received from the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Member States;

34. Notes that, before the final adoption of an impact assessment, its preliminary results must always be subjected to an external review; calls for the findings of this review to be publicly accessible;

35. Notes the criticism by the European Court of Auditors to the effect that the Commission sometimes undertakes legislative initiatives even though the impact assessment process has not been completed; further notes the criticism that not all policy options may receive the same level of attention; stresses that all policy options must be fully considered in the impact assessment process;

36. Calls, in the interest of greater transparency, for the publication of the names of all experts and other participants in the impact assessment process as well as of their declaration of interests;

37. Calls, in connection with public consultations, for the early notification of stakeholder groups concerning any planned consultation; further takes the view that stakeholder groups should be given the opportunity, as part of the public consultation process, to comment on impact assessments, and that this should take place in good time, before the Commission proposal is published;

38. Insists that the data used by the Commission be reliable and comparable;

39. Calls on the Commission, in its impact assessments, to look systematically at the administrative burden imposed by proposed legislation, and always to state clearly which of the options assessed eliminates the most administrative burdens or creates fewest new ones;

40. Notes that presenting the results of an impact assessment at the same time as a legislative proposal is unhelpful, as it gives the impression that the principal aim of the impact assessment is to justify the Commission proposal; therefore advocates the early publication of documents at every stage of the legislative process, including the publication of the Commission's final impact assessment, as approved by the IAB, before inter-service consultations begins;

41. Suggests that all completed impact assessments by the Commission should be published in a special publication series by the Commission so that they can easily be referenced and searched by the public on a dedicated website;

42. Calls for the ex-post evaluation by the Commission of legal acts adopted; reiterates nevertheless that the ex-post evaluation should never replace the Commission's above-mentioned duty to monitor the application of Union law by Member States;

43. Calls on the Commission to provide substantial comments on the impact assessments carried out by Parliament;

Potential for improvement at European Parliament level

44. Calls on its committees to make more consistent use of the parliamentary impact assessment, an instrument which is already available; recalls that there is a specific budget line to cover the carrying out of impact assessments; considers recourse to a parliamentary impact assessment particularly necessary when substantive changes to the initial proposal have been introduced;

45. Further recalls that impact assessments need not form part of a time-consuming study but may also take the form of limited studies, workshops and expert hearings;

46. Takes the view that a standard citation should systematically be included by Parliament in its legislative resolutions, by which a reference is made to consideration of all impact assessments conducted by the EU institutions in the areas relevant to the legislation in question;

47. Notes that Parliament and its committees already possess the machinery with which to scrutinise the Commission's impact assessments; considers that a presentation of the impact assessment by the Commission to the relevant committees would be a valuable addition to the scrutiny undertaken in the Parliament; notes that such scrutiny may also take a number of other forms, including complementary impact assessments, more detailed analyses, the review of Commission impact assessments by external experts and the holding of special meetings with independent experts; stresses that the work of its policy departments in this area should develop in a consistent manner;

48. Stresses that Parliament impact assessments should be regarded as a corrective to the Commission’s impact assessments;

49. Calls for Commission impact assessments to be examined systematically and as early as possible at parliamentary, and in particular at committee, level;

50. Stresses that the decision to carry out a parliamentary impact assessment must be taken in Parliament’s relevant committee with the participation of the rapporteur; urges that its Rules of Procedure be amended so as to enable one quarter of the committee’s members to order an impact assessment to be carried out;

51. Encourages all its committees, before considering a legislative proposal, to hold an in-depth discussion with the Commission on the impact assessment;

52. Stresses that impact assessments carried out during the course of the parliamentary legislative process are also important; urges that Parliament should examine the possibility of an impact assessment where substantial amendments are made at any stage of the legislative process; notes, however, that this should not lead to long delays;

53. Calls in addition for individual Members to have the scope to request small studies to provide them with relevant facts or statistics in areas relating to their parliamentary work, and suggests that such studies may be undertaken by the European Parliament's library to complement its current functions;

54. Calls therefore for Parliament to adopt plans for its library to provide members with this service; stresses that any plans should be based on the best practices of parliamentary libraries, including those of Member States, and should be carried out, according to strict rules and in full cooperation with the research function serving committees;

Creation of an autonomous impact assessment structure for the European Parliament, and prospects for the future

55. Stresses the importance of a uniform impact assessment mechanism for the quality and coherence of its own policy formation;

56. Calls, therefore, for the establishment of an integrated impact assessment process within the European Parliament; proposes in this context that a common impact assessment procedure be developed on the basis of a common system and methodology used by all committees;

57. Urges that this should take place under the aegis of an autonomous structure which makes use of the Parliament's own resources, for instance by involving the library and the policy departments, and includes external experts, such as seconded officials from national impact assessment facilities, on an ad hoc basis for individual impact assessments, which would be answerable to the European Parliament through a supervisory board consisting of members;

58. Calls for the necessary administrative infrastructure to be created to this end, making sure that any such infrastructure is budget neutral, by making use of existing resources;

59. Stresses that long-term deliberations should take place on the prospects of a common approach to impact assessments by the European institutions; recalls that the interinstitutional agreement of 16 December 2003 and the interinstitutional common approach to impact assessments of November 2005 already called for a common methodological approach to impact assessments in the European institutions;

60. Regrets that the Commission opposes the idea of a common approach to impact assessment by the European institutions;

61. Notes that the Council has hitherto made very little use of impact assessment as an instrument; calls therefore on the Council too to make more intensive use of impact assessments, in line with the above-mentioned interinstitutional common approach to impact assessments, in order to improve the quality of its contribution to EU legislation; emphasises that smart regulation based on complete and objective impact assessment remains the shared responsibility of the EU institutions and of the Member States;

o

o o

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

(1)

P7_TA(2010)0311.

(2)

OJ C 15 E, 21.1.2010, p. 16.

(3)

OJ C 187 E, 24.07.2008, p. 67.

(4)

OJ C 175 E, 10.07.2008, p. 124.

(5)

OJ C 297 E, 07.12.2006, p. 128.

(6)

OJ C 104 E, 30.04.2004, p. 146.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Impact assessments (IAs) are a key instrument for the legislative process, and one of which European legislators should make greater use in future. The benefits of IAs are obvious. They show legislators the possible consequences of their policy options and help them in making a decision. IAs can thus make a significant contribution to better lawmaking. However, they can in no way be a substitute for political debate and the legislator’s democratically legitimated decision-making process. They merely permit the technical, substantive preparation of a political decision.

This report falls into four sections. First of all the general requirements for IAs at European level are set out. The second section discusses the Commission’s IAs and highlights scope for improvement. The third section is devoted to the IAs carried out by the European Parliament. The fourth and final section calls for an autonomous IA structure within the European Parliament which all of Parliament’s committees should use to further improve lawmaking and create synergies.

General requirements for impact assessments at European level

Parliament takes the view that the IAs used by the European institutions should comply with certain principles. First of all they should be completely independent and transparent. They should cover all categories of legislative proposal and employ a clear methodology. The policy options listed should also include the option of taking no action. The specific consequences for small and medium-sized enterprises should be taken into account where appropriate. Finally, IAs must always be kept up to date with current developments in the legislative process.

Potential for improvement at Commission level

Parliament acknowledges that the Commission has raised the quality of its IAs, particularly through the foundation of the Commission’s Impact Assessment Board (IAB). However, as is shown by experience, by comments from members of Parliament and not least by the report of the European Court of Auditors, the Commission’s IAs in their present form are susceptible of further improvements. These include closer involvement of Parliament’s committees and a detailed explanation of why the Commission sometimes refrains from issuing an IA for individual legislative proposals. The Commission should also undertake to make comments on IAs commissioned by Parliament.

Potential for improvement at European Parliament level

Parliament already has the power to issue its own IAs and submit Commission IAs to thorough scrutiny. In practice, however, this very rarely forms a part of Parliament’s work. Parliament therefore calls on its relevant committees to make more intensive use of IAs in order to enhance the quality of its own lawmaking. It is also worth considering whether one quarter of a committee’s members ought to be able to order an IA.

Creation of an autonomous impact assessment structure for the European Parliament and prospects for the future

Parliament’s key demand is the creation of an autonomous structure for carrying out impact assessments within Parliament, with a view to further enhancing the quality of its lawmaking and creating synergies. In the longer term, consideration should be given to the possibility of a common mechanism for all EU institutions.


OPINION of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (7.10.2010)

for the Committee on Legal Affairs

on guaranteeing independent impact assessments

(2010/2016(INI))

Rapporteur: Derk Jan Eppink

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs calls on the Committee on Legal Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

A. whereas Parliament has stressed several times that the independence of impact assessments is a guarantee for legislation quality, and has repeatedly asked that they be made subject to external, independent scrutiny,

B.  whereas the Impact Assessment Board (IAB) is considered by the Commission to be independent although it is under the authority of the President of the Commission and is composed of high-level officials from several DGs and chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General; whereas this leads to an information bias and thus to a violation of necessary neutrality,

C. whereas impact assessments may be used to create unnecessary bureaucratic impediments to the further development or entry into force of European legislation and policies,

D. whereas there is no clear overview of the total cost of impact assessments nor any breakdown of their cost by DG,

1.  Considers that the impact assessment process must be subject to independent and external quality control;

2.  Believes that the current composition and location of the IAB are at odds with the requirement for independent impact assessments, because external scrutiny is lacking;

3.  Considers that an independent quality-control process, in combination with cost-benefit analysis, should evaluate, inter alia, the necessity of an impact assessment, taking into account its costs and the delays to legislation and policies that it causes;

4.  Invites the Commission to seek inspiration in best practices in Member States for guaranteeing independent impact assessments, and stresses the need for Parliament to use targeted impact assessments only in cases where legislation is drastically changed during the codecision procedure.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

28.9.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

29

11

1

Members present for the final vote

Burkhard Balz, Udo Bullmann, Pascal Canfin, George Sabin Cutaş, Rachida Dati, Leonardo Domenici, Derk Jan Eppink, Diogo Feio, Markus Ferber, Elisa Ferreira, Vicky Ford, José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil, Jean-Paul Gauzès, Sven Giegold, Sylvie Goulard, Liem Hoang Ngoc, Gunnar Hökmark, Othmar Karas, Wolf Klinz, Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, Philippe Lamberts, Werner Langen, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Sławomir Witold Nitras, Ivari Padar, Antolín Sánchez Presedo, Edward Scicluna, Peter Simon, Peter Skinner, Theodor Dumitru Stolojan, Kay Swinburne, Marianne Thyssen, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Corien Wortmann-Kool

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Elena Băsescu, David Casa, Ashley Fox, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Olle Ludvigsson, Thomas Mann, Siiri Oviir, Gianni Pittella


OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (9.11.2010)

for the Committee on Legal Affairs

on guaranteeing independent impact assessments

(2010/2016(INI))

Rapporteur: Martin Callanan

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Legal Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.        Calls on the Commission to carry out mandatory impact assessments (IAs) on all legislative proposals, as this is necessary to determine the need for legislation and whether there is 'EU value added';

2.        Given the costs of carrying out IAs, proposes that they be prioritised for legislative proposals;

3.        Stresses that impact assessments act as a guide to better lawmaking, and can only be an aid for making political decisions, and in no case should they replace political decisions within the democratic decision-making process nor hinder the role of the politically accountable decision-makers;

4.        Stresses furthermore that impact assessments should not cause delays in legislative procedures, nor should they be instrumentalised to serve as procedural obstacles in an attempt to block unwanted legislation;

5.        Stresses that stakeholders should be consulted in the process of drawing up IAs and that draft IAs should be made available for comment before the final document is published;

6.        Proposes that in areas of special expertise the Parliament and Council can request that IAs are externally commissioned from experts in the relevant field;

7.        Calls for a compulsory cost-benefit analysis with clearly quantified benefits and costs to be included in each IA to allow a comparison of alternative options;

8.        Calls for the cost-benefit concept in IAs on legislative proposals to be expanded to include specific indicators on natural and cultural resources so as to prevent their possible destruction, given that these resources require a specific and different assessment;

9.        Calls for a compulsory analysis of economic, social, environmental and health impacts over the medium to long term to be included in a balanced manner in all IAs; considers that where there are no such impacts this should be explicitly stated in the IA;

10.      Proposes that the IAs on legislative proposals include an economic assessment of the implementation of the substitution principle;

11.      Underlines the importance of and need for the Parliament's own Committees, in accordance with the Inter-Institutional Common Approach to Impact Assessment, to undertake reviews of the IAs and their accompanying reports of the Impact Assessment Board at the initial stage of the procedure, and to produce their own IAs in the event of substantive amendments which significantly alter Commission proposals;

12.      Calls on the Commission to establish a truly independent Impact Assessment Board (IAB) to provide external critical oversight of IAs; suggests that this should be composed of independent members from outside the institutional structure of the EU, approved by the Parliament and Council and supported by a secretariat of Commission staff; suggests that the IAB should recommend to the Parliament to reject a legislative proposal if its accompanying IA does not meet the required standards;

13.      Suggests that the Court of Auditors be responsible for overseeing the appointment of new IAB members, reviewing the initial reports produced by the new IAB, and ensuring that the Parliament and Council adhere to the rules set out in the above-mentioned Inter-Institutional Common Approach;

14.      Calls on the chair of the IAB to appear before and address the committees concerned, respectively, and upon their request, on an annual basis following the publication of the IAB annual report;

15.      Considers that the true independence of IAs should become a general principle that is applicable to all types of IA, and environmental impact assessments in particular; considers further that a guarantee that this principle applies should also be contained in the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive(1);

16.      Is convinced that Parliament should ask the Commission to propose changes to the UN Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (the Espoo Convention) that would ensure the independence of environmental impact assessments;

17.      Considers that the Commission should play an active role in defending the interests of the EU and of all its Member States in cases where third-country projects may have an impact on the European Union or on one or more of its Member States.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

27.10.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

44

5

0

Members present for the final vote

János Áder, Elena Oana Antonescu, Kriton Arsenis, Pilar Ayuso, Sergio Berlato, Milan Cabrnoch, Martin Callanan, Nessa Childers, Chris Davies, Edite Estrela, Jill Evans, Elisabetta Gardini, Julie Girling, Françoise Grossetête, Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines, Satu Hassi, Jolanta Emilia Hibner, Christa Klaß, Corinne Lepage, Peter Liese, Linda McAvan, Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė, Antonyia Parvanova, Andres Perello Rodriguez, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Mario Pirillo, Pavel Poc, Frédérique Ries, Oreste Rossi, Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, Theodoros Skylakakis, Catherine Soullie, Salvatore Tatarella, Anja Weisgerber, Glenis Willmott, Sabine Wils, Marina Yannakoudakis

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Margrete Auken, Christofer Fjellner, Matthias Groote, Philippe Juvin, Jiří Maštálka, Bill Newton Dunn, Alojz Peterle, Marianne Thyssen, Vladimir Urutchev, Kathleen Van Brempt, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Jan Zahradil

(1)

             Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (as amended), OJ L 175, 5.7.1985, p.40.


OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (3.11.2010)

for the Committee on Legal Affairs

on guaranteeing independent impact assessments

(2010/2016(INI))

Rapporteur: Giles Chichester

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on Legal Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Stresses that the Commission’s Impact Assessment Board (IAB) should ensure stringent quality control as well as transparency, should include a reasonable percentage of independent non-executive experts proposed by the Commission subject to the approval of the European Parliament, and should report to the relevant committee;

2.  Believes the impact assessment to be a suitable instrument for verifying the relevance of Commission proposals, and in particular compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and for explaining more clearly to the co-legislators and the public at large the reasons behind opting for a given measure;

3.  Considers that the IAB should check all Commission IAs and issue opinions on them; considers that if the Commission, following a critical opinion from the IAB, decides not to make any changes to its proposal, a statement from the Commission explaining this decision should be published with the proposal, as should the IAB's opinion;

4.  Stresses that impact assessments must in no way diminish the Commission’s independence in exercising its institutional prerogatives, and in particular its sole right to initiate legislation as provided for in Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union;

5.  Believes that the IAB should be in a position to verify the cost calculations of the impact assessment (IA) and establish independent cost calculations with the assistance of independent experts where necessary;

6.  Believes that the impact on EU economic partnerships as well as the implications of choosing a specific European standard instead of an international standard should be taken into consideration in IAs;

7.  Believes that IAs should be carried out systematically for any legislative proposal and calls on the Commission, for the exceptional cases in which no IA can be carried out, to always provide a reasoned justification why an IA is not performed;

8.  Believes that a cost-benefit approach is insufficient when it comes to IAs and therefore emphasises the importance of an integrated approach to IAs that address interactions between economic – with particular emphasis on SMEs –, environmental, social, territorial and health considerations;

9.  Advocates that every IA include a consideration of policy alternatives and urges the Commission to set up a mechanism to ensure greater inter-institutional cooperation;

10. Calls on the Commission to consult stakeholders and representatives of other EU institutions to analyse drafts before the proposal is finalised so that they are involved earlier and more closely in the process, allowing the Commission to better target the impact assessments and their content as far as policy options are concerned; believes further that executive summaries of IAs should be provided;

11. Stresses that IAs should be updated during the policy-making cycle, in particular to take account of substantive changes to the initial legislative proposal put forward by the Commission, and that the update be available prior to the final vote in Parliament; encourages a more systematic and targeted use of IAs in Parliament in cases where proposals undergo substantive changes in committee, in accordance with the Interinstitutional common approach to IAs and the Parliament's IA Handbook;

12. Reiterates that the administrative burden of new legislation to be imposed on business and public administration is a significant element assessed by IAs, and administrative and compliance costs should if possible be quantified; calls for consideration to be given to both administrative burden reduction and achieving the goals of legislation in order to ensure a balanced approach, and urges that the effects of new regulation on industry be thoroughly assessed with regard to the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the current discussions on a new industrial policy for Europe;

13. Calls for the SME test to be consistently applied and published to evaluate the impact of new regulation on SMEs in particular;

14. Considers that the methodology for the IAB’s impact assessment process should be regularly evaluated by an independent body such as the Court of Auditors; urges that ex-post evaluations be carried out to show whether the policy has been effective and to optimise the methodology for IAs;

15. Emphasises that promoters of projects or direct or indirect beneficiaries of their implementation must not be able to conduct or approve the draft environmental assessment, since a mandatory independent external assessment is necessary;

16. Takes the view that it should not be possible for environmental impact assessments on projects or legislation sponsored by public administrations or their dependent undertakings to be conducted or approved by the administration concerned;

17. Considers that, given the cost of IAs, priority should be given to their being conducted on legislative proposals laying down binding rules.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

26.10.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

44

4

2

Members present for the final vote

Jean-Pierre Audy, Ivo Belet, Bendt Bendtsen, Jan Březina, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Giles Chichester, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Lena Ek, Ioan Enciu, Gaston Franco, Adam Gierek, Norbert Glante, Fiona Hall, Jacky Hénin, Edit Herczog, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš, Lena Kolarska-Bobińska, Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, Marisa Matias, Angelika Niebler, Jaroslav Paška, Anni Podimata, Miloslav Ransdorf, Herbert Reul, Teresa Riera Madurell, Jens Rohde, Paul Rübig, Amalia Sartori, Francisco Sosa Wagner, Konrad Szymański, Britta Thomsen, Patrizia Toia, Evžen Tošenovský, Claude Turmes, Niki Tzavela, Marita Ulvskog, Vladimir Urutchev, Adina-Ioana Vălean, Kathleen Van Brempt, Alejo Vidal-Quadras

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Antonio Cancian, Matthias Groote, Jolanta Emilia Hibner, Yannick Jadot, Oriol Junqueras Vies, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Bernd Lange, Markus Pieper, Mario Pirillo


OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (02.12.2010)

for the Committee on Legal Affairs

on guaranteeing independent impact assessments

(2010/2016(INI))

Rapporteur: Barbara Weiler

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on Legal Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Emphasises the need to learn lessons from the ex-post evaluation of existing legislation and an analysis of relevant ECJ case law, and for a proper discussion to take place on the strategic choices available in a certain policy area before new legislation is proposed;

2.   Stresses the need for thorough impact assessments as a prerequisite for high-quality legislation and correct transposition, application and enforcement;

3.   Calls on the Commission to carry out an independent, neutral assessment of all possible options, without committing itself to a particular option before an impact assessment has been carried out;

4.   Reinforces the strategic approach to impact assessments as recognised by the Commission Communication on Smart Regulation in the European Union, which must apply across the whole policy cycle from design to implementation, enforcement, evaluation and the revision of legislation; emphasises the fact that more attention and more resources should be paid at the concept design stage of legislative proposals because this can lead to improved quality of outcomes and facilitate the legislative process;

5.   Points out that, for an impact assessment to be objective, the Commission must systematically consult all interested parties, including SMEs and consumer protection organisations, in order to strengthen the voice of EU citizens in the consultations;

6.   Notes that, in carrying out its impact assessments, the Commission should also consult with the Member States, because the latter must later transpose the directives into national law, and national authorities usually know better how legal provisions will work in practice;

7.   Regards the impact assessment as a ‘living document’ forming part of the lawmaking process; stresses the need to guarantee sufficient flexibility so that further impact assessments can be conducted during the lawmaking process;

8.   Stresses that, in line with the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking, co-legislators have undertaken to carry out impact assessments when they consider this to be appropriate and necessary for the legislative process, prior to the adoption of any substantive amendment;

9.   Calls on the Commission to guarantee that consumer protection requirements are taken into account by ensuring that impact assessments examine the potential impact of proposals on the single market and consumers, as well as their economic, social and environmental impact;

10. Calls on the Commission, in its impact assessments, to look systematically at the administrative burden imposed by proposed legislation, and always to state clearly which of the options assessed eliminates the most administrative burdens or creates fewest new ones;

11. Urges the Commission to ensure that impact assessments contain a meaningful assessment of the social impact of proposals;

12. Welcomes the fact that the Commission’s new Impact Assessment Guidelines contain a commitment to examine the potential impact of proposals on SMEs, and strongly urges the Commission to meet these obligations;

13. Emphasises the need to improve the work of the Impact Assessment Board by ensuring that Commission experts from all policy areas affected are represented and also by including independent specialists from outside the Commission; notes that the work of the Impact Assessment Board should continue to be fully transparent and that European Parliament committees should be fully informed;

14. Encourages all its committees, before considering a legislative proposal, to hold an in-depth discussion with the Commission on the impact assessment;

15. Emphasises that smart regulation based on complete and objective impact assessment remains the shared responsibility of the European institutions, and that the Commission must therefore also take into account feedback received from the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Member States;

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

30.11.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

33

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Pablo Arias Echeverría, Cristian Silviu Buşoi, Lara Comi, Jürgen Creutzmann, Christian Engström, Evelyne Gebhardt, Małgorzata Handzlik, Malcolm Harbour, Iliana Ivanova, Sandra Kalniete, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Edvard Kožušník, Kurt Lechner, Toine Manders, Gianni Pittella, Zuzana Roithová, Heide Rühle, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Bernadette Vergnaud, Barbara Weiler

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Frank Engel, Anna Hedh, María Irigoyen Pérez, Morten Løkkegaard, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Konstantinos Poupakis, Wim van de Camp, Anja Weisgerber

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Emma McClarkin, Jutta Steinruck


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

12.4.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

2

0

Members present for the final vote

Sebastian Valentin Bodu, Christian Engström, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, Antonio López-Istúriz White, Antonio Masip Hidalgo, Alajos Mészáros, Bernhard Rapkay, Evelyn Regner, Alexandra Thein, Diana Wallis, Rainer Wieland, Cecilia Wikström, Zbigniew Ziobro, Tadeusz Zwiefka

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Piotr Borys, Sergio Gaetano Cofferati, Sajjad Karim, Kurt Lechner, Eva Lichtenberger, Arlene McCarthy, Angelika Niebler

Last updated: 3 May 2011Legal notice