There is no doubt that the Better Regulation package has the potential to make better laws. But it is also clear that it has the potential to slow down decision-‐making in the EU. In fact, it can be considered that the work being done to sharpen the EU’s Better Regulation policy is a reflection of the fact that the EU is somewhat lost in the direction it wants to follow on a series of substantive issues. In this sense, the wider review that will be a direct consequence of the UK’s drive to reform the EU is to be welcomed.
It should also be noted that four members of the High Level Advisory ground on the Better Regulation package issued a dissenting opinion. This is unusual for EU policy initiatives. The dissenters were concerned that behind the Better Regulation agenda there was a de-‐regulation agenda. They argue that laws can be administratively burdensome but that does not mean that they are not appropriate: to give priority to the burdensome aspect of the law might diminish the need for law in the first place.
The Better Regulation package recognises that the more free movement there is within the common market the more there is a need to regulate at the level of the EU. In this sense, the dissenters take the view that the ‘burdens’ can be considered a ‘passport’ and thus a benefit to business and to EU citizens.
In practice, the dissenters object to ideas central to the Better Regulation package that before adding new burdens, old burdens must be removed. They argue that if the ‘burden’ continues to serve a purpose it should be retained. They also object to the recommendation that impact assessments should be made available before proposals are sent to the legislator. This, the argue with much reason, could cause regulatory paralysis and deny the EU legislator (the Parliament and the Council are the two legislative chambers) the chance to discuss the details.
It now has to be seen whether the European Parliament, in particular, will agree with the Commission on the new Inter-‐Institutional Agreement based on the Better Regulation Package. If they consider that it might restrict or constrain their function as the proper venue to review the benefits of regulation or new laws, it is very possible that it will be rejected.