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A 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Pregnant Workers proposals should be withdrawn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:
Exemptions and lighter regimes
Target for burden reduction
Evaluate and Enforce