Although they are often pitched one against the other, evidence-based policy and precaution are compatible, at least in the field of freedom of scientific research. To support this claim, the authors discuss the European Union and its position on precaution. The chapter argues that there is nothing inherently anti-evidence in the precautionary principle adopted by the European Union. The problem lies in how it is manipulated for reasons of political advocacy. To reconcile precaution and evidence-based policy, the authors argue that it is precautionary to not prohibit any scientific research unless there is empirical evidence that costs and damages outweigh benefits. This guarantees freedom of science, which is also protected by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This freedom, however, needs to be balanced by social trust and scientific responsibility. In other words, a new social contract is needed, in which scientists obtain freedom but are accountable to and in active dialogue with society.
The European Union and its member states are investing in ambitious programmes for ‘better regulation’ and targets of regulatory quality. This book lifts the veil of excessively optimistic propositions covering the whole better-regulation agenda, and provides a conceptual framework to handle the political complexity of regulatory governance. It approaches better regulation as an emerging public policy, with its own political context, actors, problems, rules of interaction, instruments, activities and impacts. Focusing on the key tools of impact assessment, consultation, simplification and access to legislation, the chapters provide empirical evidence on the progress made in the member states and in Brussels, drawing on an extensive research project and an original survey of directors of better-regulation programmes in Europe. They show how indicators define, measure and appraise better-regulation policy, linking measures to policy processes in which the stakeholders learn by monitoring. Although better regulation is a top priority for competitiveness in Europe and the legitimacy of EU policy, the level of commitment and the development of tools vary considerably. The major challenge for better regulation is institutionalisation—this calls for clear choices in terms of what the EU wants from better regulation.
This chapter presents the indicators of regulatory quality. It draws on the discussion of the notion of quality, the role of different stakeholders, the suggestions arising out of the literature, the new initiatives of Member States and the EU in terms of measurement, and the questionnaire dataset. The chapter first discusses the definition, purpose, limitations and types of indicators, and then illustrates how indicators of regulatory quality can be used in the EU. Finally, it develops indicators. It fleshes out the basic elements of a possible open method of coordination applied to indicators of regulatory quality. It argues that the only feasible way to make progress with quality measures is via facilitated coordination.
This chapter assesses better regulation policies in Europe by looking at the evolution of concepts, the role of new regulatory quality tools in processes of policy formulation and the question of measurement of quality. The conclusion is that measurement should not proceed by way of decontextualised scorecards, league tables and traffic light systems. The institutionalisation of better regulation policy is still low and the variance across the EU too high. The chapter discusses how indicators can contribute to the process of institutionalisation and ‘learning by monitoring’. Finally, it relates better regulation to contrasting images of regulatory governance and concludes that this policy has evolved from a set of technical tools. It has entered the territory of politics.
This book discusses the concept of regulatory quality, approaching regulatory reform by taking the institutional context and the policy process into consideration, and using indicators to measure the quality of policies designed to enhance the ability of governments and EU institutions to deliver high-quality regulation. It designs regulatory indicators by considering four classic tools: impact assessment; consultation; simplification; and access and regulatory transparency. This chapter introduces the main themes and explains the regulatory reform and better regulation policy.
This chapter situates better regulation policy in the context of the debate on the regulatory state and regulatory governance and presents the key arguments. It charts the development of regulatory reform and regulatory governance in Europe and limits the analysis to better regulation. It then deals with the issue of how to measure the performance of better regulation policy. Having established that better regulation is a public policy, it can be appraised with the same conceptual and methodological tools used for other public policies. Indicators are a component of policy appraisal. The chapter argues that the crucial step is to link measures to conceptual analysis and policy processes.
This chapter explains better regulation as public policy. It shows the theoretical implications of this approach and how better regulation can be analysed in a comprehensive framework that includes actors, principles, tools and measures. It also explains how contextual elements make a difference in the diffusion of better regulation policies. It means that we can appraise the current discourse in OECD and EU circles. It shows that the benchmark for the appraisal of meta-regulation is a concept of quality that covers both the process through which rules are produced and the economic efficiency of rules. This focus enables us to bring the participatory and democratic quality of governance back into the analytic framework. The second part of the chapter decomposes the complexity of regulatory quality.
This chapter provides a critical analysis of the most important measures used to assess the quality of regulation. It reviews indicators produced by academics, the World Bank and the OECD. It links indicators to policy processes by showing how and when they can be used, in relation to sets of principles of better regulation and by types of policy-makers. It starts with economic studies that rely on statistical analysis and proposes systems to aggregate indicators of regulatory quality into an overall index. Then, it turns to simple measures to assess the quality of regulation. The advantage of simple measures is related to the direct link between a phenomenon and a number. It shows that the distinction between objective and subjective indicators of regulatory governance is not clear-cut.
This chapter deals with the cross-national experience of the measurement of better regulation policies. The focus is on countries with experience in the development and management of tools aimed at assessing regulatory quality. It examines three non-EU countries, namely the USA, Canada and Australia. These are countries with a relatively long history of attempts to forge a quality assurance culture in regulation. The chapter then examines Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA have a robust network of quality assurance actors and also look at impact assessment beyond the issue of red tape. By contrast, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands focus on administrative burdens and are characterised by a simpler system of monitoring.
The profile of better regulation varies across the Member States of the EU. The emphasis on different principles and tools is not the same in all EU countries. This chapter draws on the results of the questionnaire sent to the directors of better regulation policy in May 2004. The main purpose of the discussion of the questionnaire results is to ascertain whether the Member States are converging in terms of the definition of better regulation principles, use of tools, and measures. It tries to map out the specific details of better regulation policies and what progress has been made in terms of measures.