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Cut2A report commissioned by Government and undertaken by the Business Taskforce entitled ‘Cut EU Red Tape’ was published this week. It looks to ease the administrative burden on EU businesses (particularly SMEs) which, according to the report, could save the EU economy billions every year.

They have come up with 30 priority recommendations to address five kinds of barriers:

Barriers to overall competitiveness

 Ensure the full implementation of the Services Directive across the EU

 Ensure data protection rules don’t place unreasonable costs on business

 Refrain from bringing forward legislative proposals on shale gas

 Drop proposals to extend reporting requirements to non-listed companies.

Barriers to starting a company and employing staff

 When low-risk companies need to keep written health and safety risk assessments

 How traineeships and work placements should be provided.

Pregnant Workers proposals should be withdrawn

Posting of Workers Directive should not introduce mandatory new complex rules on subcontracting

 Existing legislation on Information and Consultation should not be extended to micros, and no new proposals or changes to existing legislation should be made

Working Time Directive should keep the opt out; give more flexibility on on-call time/compensatory rest; clarify there is no right to keep leave affected by sickness

Agency Workers Directive should give greater flexibility for individual employers and workers to reach their own arrangements that suit local circumstances and give clarity to companies that they only need to keep limited records

Acquired Rights Directive should allow an employer and employee more flexibility to change contracts following a transfer.

Barriers to expanding a business

 Drop costly new proposals on environmental impact assessments

 Press for an urgent increase of the current public procurement thresholds

 Exempt more SMEs from current rules on the sale of shares

 Minimise new reporting requirements for emissions from fuels

 Drop plans for excessively strict rules on food labelling

 Remove proposals to make charging for official controls on food mandatory

 Remove unnecessary rules on SMEs transporting small amounts of waste

 Withdraw proposals on access to justice in environmental matters

 Withdraw proposals on soil protection.

Barriers to trading across borders

 Take action to create a fully functioning digital single market

 Rapidly agree measures to cap card payment fees

 Remove international regulatory barriers which inhibit trade

 Reduce the burden of VAT returns, and stamp out refund delays

 Drop proposals on origin marking for consumer goods.

Barriers to innovation

 Improve guidance on REACH to make it more SME-friendly

 Rapidly agree the new proposed Regulation on clinical trials

 Improve access to flexible EU licensing for new medicines

 Introduce a risk-based process for the evaluation of plant protection products.

They have also come up with the COMPETE principles, which they say will make the EU more competitive and should be applied to any new regulations or legislation. They should function as a first common-sense filter through which any new EU proposals must pass:

Competitiveness test

One-in, One-out

Measure impacts

Proportionate rules

Exemptions and lighter regimes

Target for burden reduction

Evaluate and Enforce

Posted by Leana Kell on 16/10/2013