Written by Wolfgang Hiller,
Better law-making is at the same time both a policy objective and a process. As a methodology, its purpose is to design and to decide on regulation that is fit for purpose.
This is achieved through a set of measures applied at all stages of the policy cycle, starting from agenda-setting, policy design and consultation, through to the actual moment of decision-making by the co-legislators, and finally to ex-post evaluation, when, after a period of transposition and implementation, the laws and regulations are evaluated to determine whether they have fulfilled their purpose or if they require adaptations to better meet evolving needs.
The responsibility for better law-making is shared between the European Union (EU) institutions. At European level, this was confirmed by the entry into force of the current Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making in April 2016, which has provided a new impetus to the joint efforts of the EU institutions to boost evidence-based policy-making at the various stages of the legislative and policy cycles. The aim is to generate European legislation of the highest possible quality for the benefit of European citizens.
The way forward: Better law-making in the future
To evaluate past experience of better law-making in practice, the European Commission undertook a comprehensive stock-taking exercise in early 2019, to find out what has worked well and what needs to be improved in this regard in the future. The European Parliament and its Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value contributed to this exercise in various ways and have made their own reflections on the Parliament’s work in this field. The exercise confirmed that the use of better regulation tools in the European law-making process are, by international comparison, well established and largely appreciated by stakeholders. Nevertheless, to improve its effectiveness and to achieve its objective of better laws for European citizens in future, work needs to continue at all levels. To this end, the Parliament’s Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value stands ready to support parliamentary committees in this process.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Impact Assessment and European Added Value work during the eighth legislative term, 2014-2019‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.