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EC Sets Out Ambitious Plan To Cut European Red Tape

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

15 November 2006

The European Commission yesterday put forward a proposal to cut, jointly with Member States, the administrative burden for companies by 25% by 2012.

The EC claims that the ambitious plan could boost GDP across the European Union by 1.5% and lead to an additional EUR150 billion for investment in growth and jobs.

However, the EC conceded that the plan may hinge on new political momentum within member states and regional and local authorities towards cutting their own red tape.

According to Commission Vice President Gunter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, the EC is now moving ahead with an "unprecedented drive" to cut administrative burdens in Europe.

"We have been speaking about this for some time, now we are delivering. This will make a real difference to European businessmen. But the Commission cannot succeed alone. I call on the European Council, the European Parliament and the Member States, to endorse the priorities outlined in our communication as a common agenda for Better Regulation in the European Union and join our efforts," he stated.

The initiative is contained in the first strategic review of the 'Better Regulation' initiative.

The EC also announced that the system for impact assessment of all major new proposals for legislation will be beefed up to ensure quality and objectivity through the establishment of an Impact Assessment Board.

43 new initiatives have been added to the simplification rolling programme covering the period 2006-2009 across a broad spectrum of policy areas, the EC said. These include actions in the agriculture domain, for manufactured goods including construction products, cosmetics, and industrial emissions.

President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said that the strategic review was evidence that "a new political culture" is emerging in the Commission.

"We will continue to legislate to provide added value at the European level. Our aim is for a high quality European regulatory environment that responds to citizen's demands but does not place unnecessary administrative burdens on business," he commented.

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