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Impact assessment support to Parliament’s committees throughout the legislative cycle

Impact assessment support to Parliament's committees throughout the legislative cycle

Impact assessment support to Parliament’s committees throughout the legislative cycle

Unlike the Commission, which has a long record of impact assessment activities (both ex-ante and ex-post), it was only relatively recently that Parliament became an active player in the institutional impact assessment structure. This development was triggered by the 2011 Niebler report, which called for the establishment of an ‘integrated impact assessment process within the European Parliament’ in support of parliamentary committees (point 56). A dedicated EP impact assessment service was subsequently set up in January 2012 within Parliament’s administration. Initially, the focus of this service was on ex-ante impact assessment and European added value (see above). In November 2013, the service became part of the newly created Directorate General for Parliamentary Research Services and broadened its remit to include ex-post evaluation, thus covering the entire legislative cycle, from agenda-setting to scrutiny. This was also in the spirit of the Niebler report, which invited the EU institutions to adopt a holistic approach to impact assessment, ‘throughout the whole policy cycle, from design to implementation, enforcement, evaluation and to the revision of legislation’ (point 2) and which stressed the necessity to ‘evaluate more accurately whether the objectives of a law have actually been achieved and whether a legal act should be amended or retained’ (point 25). The importance of both ex-ante and ex-post impact assessment for evidence-based policy making in the context of better law-making was recently reconfirmed in Parliament’s resolution on the state of play and outlook on REFIT (Kaufmann report).

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