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The European Commission today presented a Communication which takes stock of the work it has accomplished in the field of better regulation in recent years. The report places the focus on improving consultations and procedures, whereas it is insufficient and too negative in its addressing of the key element of cutting red tape, i.e. preventing new unnecessary costs and reducing existing unnecessary costs for citizens, businesses and administrations. However, the increasing digitalisation is opening up many opportunities to reduce unnecessary costs.

Federal Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier commented: “The targeted reduction of unnecessary bureaucracy at EU level is of pivotal importance for industry, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. This is particularly true in times when international competition is growing ever fiercer. In recent years, much has already been done at European level. And I welcome that. The Commission’s latest Communication, however, gives us reason to be even more ambitious. Because it does not go far enough: the costs of European legislation for citizens, businesses and administrations must be made much more transparent. And new costs must be minimised. The overall burden of EU regulations must be significantly reduced. Bureaucracy reduction targets and rules such as one-in one-out, with which Germany has had very good experience, should also be applied at European level.”

In Germany, the annual bureaucratic burden on the economy has been reduced by around 2 billion euros since 2015. The basis of this success has been the one-in one-out rule, according to which new burdens must be offset by corresponding relief elsewhere. In the same period, however, the annual bureaucratic burden on Germany increased by around 500 million euros, resulting from the implementation of EU directives alone. Compliance costs accruing from EU regulations have not yet been taken into account here. So the real increase in bureaucratic burdens from EU legislation is likely to be considerably higher.