COM(2007)0023, Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens in the European Union

European Commission


In November 2006, the Commission proposed launching an ambitious Action Programme to reduce the administrative burden of existing regulation in the EU. As part of this, the Commission proposed that the 2007 Spring European Council fix a reduction target of 25 %, to be achieved jointly by the EU and Member States by 2012. This underlines the Commission’s commitment to Better Regulation as part of the “Growth and Jobs” strategy.

The overall 25 % reduction target is a joint objective, which can only be attained on the basis of a shared responsibility and a common endeavour by the Member States and the European Institutions. It is important that all parties involved in this process take appropriate and quick action, so that the political objective can be translated into operational measures, to the benefit of the business community, in particular of the small and medium sized enterprises, and of the consumers.

This Action Programme is not about deregulation. Nor does it aim to change policy objectives set out in the existing Community legislation or the level of ambition in existing legislative texts. Rather it represents an important effort to streamline and make less burdensome the way in which policy objectives are implemented – one important measure of the quality of regulation at every level. Unnecessary and disproportionate administrative burdens can have a real economic impact. They are also seen as an irritant and a distraction for business and are often identified as a priority target for simplification. The Commission is committed to assist in suppressing these unnecessary burdens at all levels and underlines that this is a shared responsibility of the Member States and the European Institutions.

This Action Programme sets out how the Commission proposes that the information obligations (IOs) should be identified, measured and reduced. The programme will measure administrative costs, take a judgement on which of these costs constitute unnecessary burdens and reduce unnecessary administrative burdens. Practically, as the measurement exercise delivers its results, the Commission will analyse these and take the required initiatives towards reduction of the burdens that are unnecessary. The strategy presented in this Communication is ambitious and its success depends to a great extent on active support and cooperation from Member States and the other EU institutions. The pilot project and the national measurements carried out to date have confirmed that the reduction of administrative burdens is a joint responsibility of the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the Member States.