Public Consultations Unpacked: The Commission’s participatory regime under the 2021 Better Regulation Agenda
In April 2021, the European Commission launched its updated version of the Better Regulation Agenda with the view to ‘Joining forces to make better laws’. The Commission’s regulatory framework with the overarching aim of achieving better and simpler legislation which is based on evidence and created with the involvement of EU citizens and stakeholders has been amended in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and having taken into consideration the results of the Stocktaking exercise conducted in 2019. In this regard, the new Better Regulation Agenda specifically emphasizes on ensuring post-pandemic ‘recovery and resilience’ as well as addressing the shortcomings identified in the previous versions by introducing a set of amendments which aim at helping remove obstacles and red tape to new investments and minimize the costs introduced with new legislation, while ensuring sustainability and digital transformation.
The consultations held by the Commission before the adoption of its initiatives constitute an integral part of Better Regulation Agenda since its establishment in 2002 and a constitutional imperative according to the Article 11 para. 3 TEU, with the view to enabling citizens’ and stakeholders’ participation in the EU lawmaking, thus, enhancing evidence-based policymaking and democratic legitimacy. With regards to the new Better Regulation Agenda goals, the Public Consultations’ regime had to be amended so as to engage more citizens in the decision-making process, while at the same time not imposing ‘unnecessary burdens’. This is why the Commission officials launched the Call for Evidence as a ‘streamlined, inclusive and simple’ system for the provision of feedback and a number of other changes in order to address the previous critiques. The details for the implementation of these amendments are included in the new Better Regulation Guidelines and Toolbox which were published as of November 2021. In this post, an overview of the new Public Consultations’ regime will be provided (I) and a Preliminary Assessment of the New Regime will be made (II). Continue reading