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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Better Law Making - 1281 words
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COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES Brussels, 5.6.2002 COM(2002) 275 final COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION European Governance: Better lawmaking . .2 Accountability, effectiveness, proportionality In July 2001, the Commission presented its White Paper on European Governance. The basic message was a simple one and is as topical now as it was then: we need to govern ourselves better, together - European institutions and Member States. We can do this without changing the Treaty, without necessarily wait ing for the successful outcome of a new intergovernmental conference. Better governance together means active cooperation between the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the nat ional governments so that the people of Europe can see more clearly how they fit into major projects and into the EU's day-to-day business. One thing we have to acknowledge is the richness of the Community method. Compared wit h other systems of internat ional relat ions, it produces rules which can be applied in any nat ional context and which have the backing of legal certainty.
But this very success raises further questions. There are a lot of complex issues at stake now in enacting good European legislat ion which is mindful of the principles of subsidiarit y and proportionalit y. People nowadays take an interest in the effectiveness of the rules handed down 'from Brussels' and the way they are drawn up. The advent of a democratic conscience is strengthening the need for accountability and proportionality in the way powers vested in the European inst itutions are exercised. This need is expressed more especially in transparency, clarity and the willingness to stand up to scrutiny
What we have here, then, is a veritable ethical requirement. The resolut ion adopted by the European Parliament in November 2001 in the wake of the Kaufmann report strengthens this requirement still further. By clearly stressing the primacy of polit ical accountabilit y behind legislat ive act ion, the resolution brings out the need for more transparent, equitable and disputational consultat ion: it is the very qualit y of the legislat ion which is under scrutiny. Three communications for better lawmaking Inspired by this resolution and by the init ial react ions during the consultat ions on the White Paper concerning the 'better lawmaking' element, and bearing in mind the recommendat ions by the high-level group chaired by Mr Mandelkern, the Commission has now decided that the time has come to act in response to the strategy mapped out by the Lisbon European Council. That is the point of the three communications set out below. These three communicat ions form a whole centred on the basic lawmaking framework of the European Union, including the way EU law is transposed into national law.
They are designed to apply to all the EU's regulatory areas - not just the Communit y "pillar", but also the third "pillar" that relates to just ice and home affairs, bearing in mind the institutional framework and the decision-making arrangements proper to each 'pillar'. The Commission believes that the communications could come into force from the beginning of 2003, keeping in mind that some of the proposed provisions are a matter for an inter-institutional agreement. 'Simplifying and improving the regulatory environment' - an action plan How can the various inst itutions and the Member States improve their lawmaking? This is the question which the first communicat ion addresses in the form of an action plan. It deals in chronological sequence with the various stages of the legislat ive cycle. This makes it possible3 to analyse the respect ive responsibilit ies of the various European inst itutions and to clarify what should be done under an interinstitutional agreement.
The Commission, first of all, is committed to be more transparent in the way it exercises its right of init iat ive and take greater account of diversit ies. In particular, the Commission shows how it sets out clearly the reasons why it takes a particular init iat ive, and how it sets out to ensure that the substance of its legislat ive proposals are restricted to the bare essentials. Parliament and the Council, which are responsible in the final analysis for the proportionalit y of the legislat ive instruments and the simplicit y of the legislat ion, are invited to firmly commit themselves in the same direct ion: returning to the original concept of the direct ive as provided for in the Treaty, laying down common criteria and providing for the involvement of the legislator in co-regulat ion, qualified-majorit y voting, the way the codecision procedure is conducted, and the use of impact assessments. Finally, the action plan suggests measures under the direct responsibilit y of the Member States which could greatly improve the qualit y of the European regulatory environment. Promoting a culture of dialogue and participation Who is really consulted as part of the Communit y legislat ive process? Are the smallest voices really and always heard? What is the subject matter of consultat ion? And to what extent are people's opinions actually taken into account? This is the subject of the second communicat ion, which gives practical expression to the emerging culture of dialogue and participation.
Based on broad experience of mandatory or informal consultat ion exercises, five minimum consultation standards are set out, to be applied by the Commission's departments. The purpose is to enable the legislator to be sure of the qualit y, and particularly the equit y, of consultations leading up to major polit ical proposals. The move is motivated by three concerns: to systematise and rationalise the wide range of consultat ion practices and procedures, and to guarantee the feasibilit y and effectiveness of the operation; to ensure the transparency of consultat ion from the point of view of the bodies or persons consulted and from the legislator's point of view; and to demonstrate accountability vis-`a-vis the bodies or players consulted, by making public, as far as possible, the results of the consultation and the lessons that have been learned. Systematising impact assessment by the Commission How can we take into account the 'impact' of future legislat ion - in other words, what would be the benefit and the cost of implement ing it? That is the subject of the third communicat ion, which explains the systematic approach to assessing the impact of initiatives, essentially legislative ones, which the Commission now intends to apply. Practical and adapted to each instrument, the approach is a measured one, in that the legislat ive process should not get blocked pending an excessively long or over-costly evaluat ion.
It takes the form of a general-purpose impact analysis tool which can be applied to all init iatives undertaken under the Commission's programme of work. Impact assessment is in the same line of thinking as the European sustainable development strategy. The intent ion is that it should play a major role throughout the process of improving the qualit y of European legislat ion, providing a decision-making aid but not taking the place of polit ical judgement. For one thing, it will guide and just ify the choice of the right instrument at the appropriate level of intensit y of European action. For another, it will provide4 the legislator with more accurate and better structured informat ion on the posit ive and negat ive impacts, having regard to economic, social and environmental aspects. Thirdly, it will const itute a means of select ing, during the work programming phase, those initiatives which are really necessary.
Political refocusing and the quality of policy execution: two sides of the same coin The 'better lawmaking' act ion plan and the two accompanying communicat ions are based on the same premise: to place the three inst itutions - Parliament, Council and the ...
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