Global Policy Forum

Better Regulation - TTIP under the Radar?

better_regulation-ttip_under_the_radarThe EU’s “Better Regulation” agenda, despite being less known than TTIP, seeks to improve Europe’s competitiveness by reducing the regulatory costs for business through instruments that closely resemble those discussed under TTIP. In a new report, the European Environmental Bureau, Bread for the World and Forum Umwelt & Entwicklung raise concerns over the “Better Regulation” project proposed by the Juncker Commission. According to the organizations, such a measure to curb regulation is unlikely to achieve its primary aim of improving Europe’s competitiveness. Efforts to reduce the burden of environmental regulations on business will simply subsidize Europe’s least competitive businesses by allowing them to dump part of their production costs on the environment, leaving taxpayers and citizens to pay for this through increased health care costs and efforts to clean up the environment. The “Better Regulation” agenda fails to take into consideration the benefits to society as a whole deriving from regulation. Addressing global challenges will require the EU to adopt new, effective and often legally binding policies. A blanket requirement to offset any regulatory burden arising from new policies by slashing regulatory burdens elsewhere irrespective of the benefits arising would seriously hamper these efforts. Both under TTIP and through its unilateral “Better Regulation” agenda, the EU’s governance system is changing significantly with a stronger role for well resourced regulated industries to write their own rules.

February 18, 2016 | European Environmental Bureau/Bread for the World/Forum Umwelt & Entwicklung


by Pieter de Pous

Read the full report here.

The negotiations the EU are having with the US over a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would, if concluded as currently desired by the Juncker Commission, lead to new governance structures and procedures with a central objective of eliminating trade and investment barriers. These barriers by definition include EU and US environmental, consumer and social protection rules. This would create new opportunities for regulated industries to write their own rules through highly technical processes dominated by stakeholder consultations and trade impact assessments. The overriding objective to eliminate barriers to trade would effectively erode the EU’s existing right to adopt new legislative measures that would provide a higher level of protection than in the US. In parallel to TTIP and much less well known, the Juncker Commission has adopted a new ‘Better Regulation’ (BR) package and, under pressure especially from the current UK and, to a lesser extent, NL governments and vested interests, taken the BR agenda further than any other Commission has done before. This BR agenda started off in the EU in the early 2000s with modest and reasonable goals, namely to identify unnecessary administrative burdens and remove those which were not necessary to achieve certain policy goals. Over the years however the scope and ambition of this agenda has evolved slowly but surely to the point that an exercise that was originally about ‘cutting red tape’ has started to unravel the legislative safety net protecting people and the environment. This process is taking place both in the US and the EU and is following a very similar pattern, with the US so far being ahead of the EU.

Read the full report here.

The German summary can be read here.


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