Regulatory policy

Better Regulation Practices across the European Union

Published on March 19, 2019

Laws and regulations affect the daily lives of businesses and citizens. High-quality laws promote national welfare and growth, while badly designed laws hinder growth, harm the environment and put the health of citizens at risk. This report analyses practices to improve the quality of laws and regulations across all 28 EU Member States and the European Union. It systematically assesses the use of evidence and stakeholder participation in the design and review of domestic laws and regulations based on the OECD Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance. It also provides insights into individual Member States’ use of regulatory management tools as they relate to EU laws. The report presents good regulatory practices and highlights areas that should receive further attention and investment.


Acronyms and abbreviations
Reader’s guide
Executive summary
Better regulation and institutional oversight across the European Union
Stakeholder engagement across the European Union
Regulatory impact assessment across the European Union
Ex post review of laws and regulations across the European Union
Country information on shares of national laws initiated by parliament
The 2017 OECD Regulatory Indicators Survey and the composite indicators
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country factsheets



key findings

  • Stakeholder engagement: EU Member States have heavily invested in tools to consult on draft laws and regulations. Nevertheless,stakeholders rarely have the opportunity to provide input at an early stage of the policy development and it often remains unclear how their feedback has been considered. 

  • Regulatory impact assessment: While RIA has been adopted by nearly all EU Member States, there is a substantive gap between the outward commitment and effective use in practice. RIA is often limited to the government’s preferred regulatory option, begins only after regulatory proposals have already been developed and lacks transparency.

  •  Ex post evaluation of laws and regulations: EU Member States rarely assess if regulations achieve their policy goals as expected.

  •  Regulatory management and EU law: Member States generally conduct RIA and stakeholder engagement when transposing EU directives. The use of these regulatory management tools is less common when Member States form their negotiation position during the EU legislative process, before a draft law is adopted at EU level. The European Commission renewed its political commitment towards the principles of better regulation with its 2015 Better Regulation Package and compares favourably to most EU members. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement for everyone.

  • Regulatory oversight and quality control across the EU: Incentives for ministries to comply with better regulation policies are weak in most Member States.  Quality control and oversight usually focus only on RIA and few oversight bodies can ask ministries to revise their impact assessments if the quality is insufficient. Only a few countries and the European Union have evaluated their stakeholder engagement practices.




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