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EC’s impact assessments improving

Monday 30 January 2012 – by Karina Whalley

The Centre for European Policy Studies has found that the quality of regulatory impact assessments in the European Commission and the UK, has improved steadily over time.

The think tank released a working document last week examining the assessments done between 2005 and 2010, with positive results.

“The findings suggest that impact assessment is not merely a perfunctory activity in the EU and the UK. Quality has improved steadily over the years, arguably as a result of learning and regulatory oversight,” the report said.

The paper, written by Oliver Fritsch, Claudio Radaelli and Lorna Schrefler, says the UK and the EC are “strikingly similar” on a number of impact assessment dimensions such as economic analysis and identifying costs and benefits.

However, the EC assessments seem to pay more attention to social and environmental aspects and are broader, focusing less exclusively on economics, Ceps said.

“The emphasis on setting specific and operational objectives is on the rise,” the paper says of European assessments, which suggests “a sort of paradigm shift from a US-style IA [impact assessment] to an IA model geared towards policy consistency and coherence”.

In terms of cost benefit analyses, the report found that “quantification and monetisation” are still problematic areas as they are not included in many IAs. This could be due to a lack of data, CEPS said.

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