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Better Regulation – Vital for Shifting the European Economic Competitiveness to a Higher Level

In an appearance today before the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) in Brussels, the Minister of Public Administration, Dr Gregor Virant presented the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency in key working areas within the "Better Regulation" agenda. As one of the priorities of the presiding country, Dr Virant pinpointed the drafting of better regulations, reduction of administrative burdens, measurement of administrative costs, and assessment of the impact of legislation on citizens and economic stakeholders, all aimed at raising the competitiveness of the European economy.

In his address, Dr Virant emphasised that the next six-month period would be propitious for the Slovenian Presidency since it offered an opportunity to make a real contribution to the better regulation agenda by ensuring tangible economic benefits for the EU businesses. As regards eliminating administrative barriers and reducing administrative costs, the Minister pointed out that in 2008 it will be important to ensure that the activities in the 13 priority areas set out in the European Commission's Action Plan continue in order to achieve the 25% goal by 2012. The presiding country will also give precedence to the agreement on implementing the second package of the "fast track" measures for removing the administrative barriers of the European Commission where possible.

Dr Virant expressed his hope that in the area of simplifying the existing EU legislation, the Slovenian Presidency will make considerable progress regarding both the proposals it had inherited and the new ones to be adopted during the Presidency period. Considering its extensive experience with implementing the national level projects, Slovenia can successfully transfer good practices to the European level.. That is why the implementation of "fast track" measures for reducing administrative costs is of vital importance.

The Minister also emphasised the important role of businesses in shaping proposals on the elimination of administrative barriers and the simplification of legislation. Successful and efficient implementation of projects also requires good communication with the representatives of the EU businesses. In this area, in particular, the interests of small and medium-sized businesses should be given greater attention. He cited Slovenia as an example where co-operation of this kind was conducted successfully and expressed his firm belief that the European Commission will benefit from the proposals for the elimination of administrative barriers it is receiving via its web portal,as well as from the high-level group of independent experts chaired by Mr Edmund Stoiber. In collaboration with the European Commission and the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME), Slovenia will organise a special conference in April with a view of collecting efficient proposals for eliminating administrative barriers, reducing administrative costs, and simplifying the legislation.

‘Regulatory Impact Assessment’ (RIA) will be the third area to which the Presidency will devote considerable attention. Dr Virant pointed out that in order to improve the quality of the impact assessments of legislation proposed by the European Commission, the scope of regulatory impact assessment needs to be extended to cover all important proposals. He stressed the importance of the effective implementation and application of the Community legislation in Member States, which, in his opinion, was an important component of the initiative in favour of better regulation. “The clarity of legal obligations and the definition as to whom they apply to and how legislation is to be enforced are of major importance for EU businesses. Vague legal obligations can increase costs, as businesses will be disinclined to take risks when adjusting to legislation,” Minister Virant added.


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Date: 21.01.2008