European Commission vice-president Franz Timmermans today presented the Commission's 'better regulation' proposals. Commenting on the plan, Greens/EFA co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts said:
"Today's proposals by commission vice-president Timmermans seem to be tailored to strengthen the role of the big industry lobby in the EU's legislative process. Timmermans is proposing to add new layers of bureaucracy to the legislative decision-making process in the EU, with new assessment bodies, lacking accountability. Shackling democratically-elected legislators with more bureaucracy, whilst strengthening the influence of industry lobbies, would amount to a coup on the EU's democratic process. From the viewpoint of Europe's citizens, this would not be a better way to regulate and would not lead to better laws.
"The proposal to create new layers of impact assessments during the legislative process would impose an unmanageable bureaucratic burden on legislators and would disempower the legislator. It is unreasonable to expect impact assessments at different stages of the legislative process on any substantive amendment. The suspicion is that this is aimed at stifling progressive, citizen-oriented legislative amendments. Would the EU bankers' bonus cap have survived such a process? Arguably not but it is a piece of regulatory innovation that was clearly in the public interest and has clear public backing.
"The Commission should definitely consult more widely with stakeholders in preparing legislation, and ensure that the view of all those consulted are taken into account but this must not lead to paralysis by analysis. However, the role and nature of the proposed regulatory scrutiny board and additional assessment panel raise clear democratic concerns, whilst the remit seems to be far too narrowly focused on assessing the impact of proposals from a solely economic or industry viewpoint. This would naturally inhibit laws in the general public interest, whilst favouring the interest of narrow industrial lobbies."