In April 2021, the European Commission published its new Better Regulation Communication1 aimed at improving EU policy-making. The undersigned European trade associations strongly welcome the principles and the objectives of the Communication. Nonetheless, we would like to herewith share recommendations to further improve the European policy-making process in the context of the busy policy agenda and ahead of crucial upcoming policy initiatives.
To this purpose, we call for:
● EU Legislation to be developed fully on the basis of and supported by evidence and thorough impact assessments;
● Sufficient time and resources to be allocated at all phases of the decision-making process, so as to ensure sound policy decisions;
● Consultations to be conducted via thorough process, involving expert input from all relevant stakeholders, and allow for sufficient time to provide feedback;
● Key regulatory provisions such as definitions and scope to be agreed upon and clearly defined at a primary legislative stage, rather than through implementing acts or guidance documents, to prevent the adoption of diverging and disproportionate national measures and EU market fragmentation
● The impact on innovation to be considered in all legislative initiatives to ensure
● EU legislation to be implemented and enforced in a harmonised way
safeguarding the Single Market. If applicable, legal requirements that need
specific verification procedures by authorities must be verifiable through
established methods, including the timely listing in the OJ of references to the
An evidence-based approach for all initiatives:
Legislation needs to be developed on the basis of and supported by evidence. The complexity
of many sensitive and highly political topics, particularly regarding the EU Green Deal, requires
high quality data, and evidence-based impact assessments. To this end, legislative proposals
should be published following a thorough impact assessment that clearly outlines the
implications of all the policy options proposed.
Stakeholders’ responses to consultations as well as findings of impact assessments should
be made available and published ahead of, and not together with, the respective legislative
proposal. This will help improve transparency and accountability, and support a constructive
exchange of views among stakeholders.
Appropriate timelines are a prerequisite for good quality policy-making:
When it comes to policy-making, it is pivotal that sufficient time and resources are available at
all phases of the decision-making process. Considering the substantial number of legislative
initiatives planned by the European Commission in the coming months and years, the focus
should be on quality and overall coherence rather than on the need to abide by predefined
and fast-track timelines. Important revisions such as those related to the new Circular
Economy Action Plan and the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability require the appropriate
time and resources to lead to positive outcomes for everyone concerned.
Rushed policy decisions tend to result in insufficiently defined regulatory objectives and
measures, which not only often lead to unfit legal frameworks, but also require further
clarification through additional or amended provisions within a very tight timeframe. Some
initiatives essential to the correct implementation of recently adopted EU legislation have been
delayed well beyond the original timelines foreseen. This impacts legal certainty as well as the
ability of industry to comply with the new legislative requirements by the set date. When these
delays occur, the applicability dates and transition periods should be adapted accordingly in a
way that is compatible with business reality. Otherwise, it becomes increasingly challenging
for industry stakeholders to implement changes in an appropriate and timely manner.
Consultation of stakeholders and proper consideration of their input provided:
Active participation of stakeholders in decision making is a core element of good governance and consultation must continue to be conducted in a timely manner. Targeted interviews / discussions should also be held and – to the extent possible – be complemented by open workshops inviting all interested parties and relevant experts, allowing for interaction between all stakeholders. These interactions and exchanges are beneficial for the Commission and stakeholders alike, as they enable constructive discussions and identification of new solutions or ideas through an open exchange.
The current full policy agenda has recently led to an unprecedented level of public consultations, roadmap contributions, and online workshops on topics of high importance to our sectors. The objective of the European Commission to rationalise the consultative process goes into the right direction to improve the current situation, since such a process requires time for a good quality preparation and related consultations should be run in a smooth and coordinated manner across interrelated policy areas. Unfortunately, due to overwhelming time pressure, these are often not sufficiently prepared and structured, with working documents shared only a few days before meetings and with very short deadlines to provide thorough data and feedback. Furthermore, it is becoming extremely challenging to provide meaningful input to all the initiatives, as sometimes questions included in public consultations’ questionnaires and surveys are complex to respond, and separate position papers need to be submitted together to ensure that the key messages are passed on. Consequences of this intense and complex workload and the ambitious timelines should be considered, in order to ensure they do not hinder the opportunities for stakeholders to be heard as consultations and exchanges remain a core part of the EU policy-making process.
Core requirements to be agreed upon at primary legislative stage:
The evidence-based approach should be followed for defining the content of the legal text, as well as in the context of how procedures are managed. Core elements such as definitions and scope must be agreed and concluded during the ordinary legislative procedure. We understand the value and importance of Implementing Acts and Delegated Acts, and the reasons why some requirements must be addressed at technical level through secondary legislation or guidance. We nevertheless believe that key areas such as legal definitions, scope and overall policy objectives need to be well established by the involvement of the colegislators, and should not be left open for completion or amendment through additional provisions such as implementing acts or through non-binding guidance. All EU legislation should ensure a level playing field throughout the EU single market, and help avoid legal uncertainty for companies with the risk of disrupting business operations.
Innovation, as a principle for future-proof policy-making:
Better policy-making should recognise the importance of the “Innovation principle”2, which aims at promoting sustainable, smart, future-oriented regulation and policies designed to encourage innovation activities. This will allow for the development of an innovation-friendly framework and would foster Europe’s ability to attract the necessary investments to put the EU Green Deal into practice, as well as the digital transformation. Finally, EU decision-making
should consider the specific needs of SMEs.
Requirements to be verifiable through established methods and the level-playing field on the EU internal market to be safeguarded:
Full implementation and enforcement of EU legislation with the same rules is key to ensure the continued functioning of the Single Market and that the same requirements apply to all economic operators. Avoiding divergent policy measures among the Member States is essential to secure the competitiveness of the EU industry.
The EU Single Market can only function if provisions and verification methods are well established and defined. In this regard, standards are pivotal to verify complex requirements and specifications. Lack of standards or methods could distort competition and jeopardise market surveillance efficiency in identifying and withdrawing unsafe or environmentally not meeting legally set requirements products from the market. When methods are defined in
standards, we stress the importance of publishing the references to these standards in the Official Journal of the EU in a timely manner. This is essential to ensure the overall policy objectives are met, that all actors will compete on an equal basis and market surveillance authorities have transparent tools to verify the compliance of products.
The EU Green Deal’s policy objectives are ambitious and achievable. We believe that Better Regulation will help achieve these objectives most effectively. It requires to ensure that policymaking is transparent, coherent and supported by sound and holistic analysis, as well as robust and up to date evidences.
List of co-signatories AIM – European Brands Associatio
A.I.S.E. – International Association for Soaps, Detergents and maintenance products
AmChamEu – American Chamber of Commerce to the EU
APPLiA – APPLiA Home Appliance Europe
CIRFS – European Man-Made Fibres Assocition
CosmeticsEurope – The European trade association for the cosmetics and personal care
DUCC – Downstrem Users of Chemicals
EUMEPS – European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene
EU.BAC – The European Building Automation and Controls Association
Eurovent – Europe’s Industry Association for Indoor Climate (HVAC), Process Cooling,
and Food Cold Chain Technologies
EUnited aisbl – European Engineering Industries Association
EUHA – The Electric Underfloor Heating Alliance
EVIA – European Ventilation Industry Association
FEICA – Association of the European Adhesive & Sealant Industry
IFRA – The International Fragrance Association
Intergraf – European Federation for Print and Digital Communication
Smart Packaging Europe
Styrenics Circular Solutions
TIE – Toy Industries of Europe
Transfrigoroute – The Association for the temperature-controlled road transport sector