Sunday 29 October 2017

New and REFIT initiatives in Commission Work Programme 2018

The Juncker Commission has been strategic and steadfast in its work, matter of fact in its communication. In the blog post Commission Work Programme 2018 we looked at the CWP 2018 communication, which offers a State of the Union 2017 (SOTEU) update, useful references and an overview of the coming initiatives:

Commission Work Programme 2018: An agenda for a more united, stronger and more democratic Europe; Strasbourg, 24.10.2017 COM(2017) 650 final

However, for this EU “Navigation App” for 2018 to serve practical purposes and offer detail, we have to make use of one or more of the five “add ons”, namely the annexes that followed the communication.

You can find all the documents through the web page 2018 Commission work programme - key documents, but mostly still only in English, French and German, the internal working languages of the European Commission.

I mention the Commission’s press release IP/17/4002 and the fact sheet MEMO/17/4003 because, for substance and terminology, they are the only documents already published in all the official EU languages.  

This blog post offers alternative links to the annexes in English through the legal portal Eur-Lex, as well as a short presentation of each annex.

New initiatives

The first CWP 2018 annex presents the planned new initiatives, neatly ordered according to the ten priorities of the Juncker Commission:

Annex to the CWP 2018 communication; Strasbourg, 24.10.2017 COM(2017) 650 final ANNEX 1
There is something under each priority. On six pages in all, the Commission presents 26 packages with future legislative proposals (mentioning the legal base) or non-legislative initiatives, indicating the planned quarter for publication.

Graphically, the ordinary legislative and political initiatives are presented on white, whereas grey matter offers the background for the future of Europe initiatives, to be launched “with a 2025 perspective”. The same colour scheme prevails in the Annex I infographic, which reduces the 26 packages to a one page view.

REFIT initiatives

If Annex 1 was about delivering on the Commission’s ten priorities, or thinking ahead to a better union by 2025 (future of Europe), the Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) programme is part of the Commission’s better regulation agenda. The proclaimed REFIT aim is for EU legislation to deliver results for citizens and businesses effectively, efficiently and at minimum cost. REFIT aims to “keep”  (make?) EU law simple, remove unnecessary burdens and adapt existing legislation without compromising on legislative objectives.

Thus, the four pages of REFIT proposals under the twelve headlines in the second CWP 2018 annex are complementary to the ones in the first annex:  

Annex to the CWP 2018 communication; Strasbourg, 24.10.2017 COM(2017) 650 final ANNEX 2

The Commission’s CWP 2018 web page offers links to an impressive amount of additional material about better regulation efforts, much of it from the same day the CWP 2018 was published: the fresh REFIT Scoreboard Summary 24 October 2017 (36 pages), the REFIT scoreboard web page with first vice-president Frans Timmermans, the new communication Completing the Better Regulation Agenda: Better solutions for better results COM(2017) 651 (14 pages) and the accompanying Commission Staff Working Document Overview of the Union's Efforts to Simplify and to Reduce Regulatory Burdens SWD(2017) 675 (45 pages).

As part of its better regulation agenda the Commission invites citizens and stakeholders to share their views: Have your say. The CWP 2018 web page offers a link to the ongoing evaluations and impact assessments on the Published initiatives page.  
We look at the remaining annexes in a later blog post.

Ralf Grahn

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