Regulatory Reform in the EU: Analysis and Practice

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This course was designed especially for master students of the College of Europe working to improve their understanding of the Regulatory Reform in the EU.

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Available at the College of Europe
  • Target: Master students

In this workshop we discussed the topic of Better Regulation. We learned where it comes from, looked at its global diffusion, and then focused on the Better Regulation Strategy of the EU with three perspectives.

  • The first perspective is historical. Why is the EU committed to better regulation? What does this label mean for the European Commission? What is the constellation of actors that historically has promoted this strategy? Is the new Commission like to change anything?
  • The second perspective is about the content of the strategy. What are the policy instruments of better regulation? What have they delivered? Are they adequate?
  • The third perspective is forward- looking and when necessary critical. Does the Commission regulate ‘better’ for growth and competitiveness? What’s in it for EU citizens? Do the Commission and the Council want the same thing? Does the Parliament make use of evidence-based policy to exercise scrutiny?

We answered these questions by building practical knowledge around the toolbox of better regulation, with emphasis on impact assessment, consultation and ex-post legislative evaluation. We then related policy instruments to the life cycle of regulatory policy, introducing and discussing regulatory oversight and indicators of regulatory management.

This workshop is organized for and delivered at the College of Europe every year

Structure and objectives

We start from a critical approach to the notion of the policy cycle, to question its heuristic value in public management. We then review and discuss in the detail the strategy of the Commission, the inter-institutional implications for law-making, the role of policy instruments like impact assessment and stakeholders engagement tools, and the results so far.

An important objective of the Masterclass is to discuss data on what has been done so far in the domains of EU impact assessment and ex post regulatory evaluation, also in relation to the evidence available for the member states.

Better regulation is a multi-level strategy, thus the EU initiatives and regulatory reform at the domestic level must be joined up. But this is not the case. We discuss the reasons for that, also in relation to possible joined-up initiatives for the reduction of administrative burdens and regulatory offsetting (one-in-one-out) involving both the activity of the Commission and transposition-implementation in the Member States. The class makes use of data gathered by the ERC Protego project, as well as other sources of data.


Day 1

Session 1 – Regulation, regulatory reform and better regulation in historical and comparative perspective

Session 2 – The tool-box of better regulation

Session 3 – A broader look at the tool-box: the Protego project and its data

Conclusions – Reflecting on what we have learned today, the questions we have answered and the questions to address in day 2

Day 2

Session 4 – The holistic picture

    1. Regulatory evaluation, ‘closing the policy cycle’ and scrutiny. The Regulatory Scrutiny Board
    2. The inter-institutional agreement on better lawmaking. The interaction between better regulation at the EU level and the use of evidence-based policy tools in the member states (to negotiate with the EU, to transpose EU law)

Session 5 – Does better regulation make a difference? The causal effects of consultation (Protego data on the causal effect of consultation on corruption levels in the EU-28)

Conclusions – The road ahead: challenges and dilemmas for the von der Leyen Commission, the regulation- innovation nexus, the future of the inter-institutional agreement on better lawmaking. The critical features of regulatory offsetting (one-in-one-out) and the future role of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board.