Asser 50 years - European Law Symposium

23 - 23 April 2015
  • Starts at: 09:00h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague

Better Regulation in the EU Revisited

Benefiting Business and Citizens

The European Union is faced with the challenge of starting afresh and regaining the trust of many Europeans in the ideals and goals of European integration. Central to this is achieving better regulation and improving the implementation of EU legislation. 

Confronted with declining popular enthusiasm for the EU and rising euroscepticism, the Juncker Commission has decided to facilitate economic recovery partially through better regulation. This comprises cutting ‘red tape’ and nurturing a more favourable economic climate for business and citizens. To accomplish this, the Commission intends to improve its policy formulation and impact assessment and withdraw stalled and inopportune proposals while ensuring that forthcoming legislation fully respects subsidiarity and proportionality. In this regard, it also seeks to forge a new partnership with national parliaments. The First Vice-President of the European Commission coordinates all these tasks while concomitantly assuming horizontal responsibility for sustainable development in Europe and the wider world. This requires balancing economic, social and environmental policy objectives with each other and with the rule of law principles in the EU. 

A first test of how the Commission carries out these two balancing acts and whether these meet the agreement of other EU institutions and Member States, lies in the Commission’s much debated 2015 Work Programme. While the European institutions have already worked on better regulation extensively since at least 1992, the T.M.C. Asser Institute has itself convened a high-profile conference on this topic back in 1997, the results of which were presented in the book Improving the Quality of Legislation in Europe (The Hague, 1998). Close to two decades later, better regulation and quality of legislation remain pertinent for tackling the EU’s economic, social and environmental challenges. The Commission’s better regulation agenda and its Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) are pivotal to overcoming them. 

Will the EU succeed to re-invent itself and demonstrate the benefits of European integration for business and citizens? The present symposium seeks to unveil the meaning of the concept of ‘better regulation’ and provide a critical reflection on the legal, institutional and political dimensions of this important move to overhaul the way policy and law are made in Europe. The revamped use of the EU legislative initiative raises salient questions of relations between EU institutions in the lawmaking processes, of their day-to-day implementation and, crucially, of the added value of common action in general. Classic principles of ensuring legislative quality, such as enacting general rules instead of furthering piecemeal regulation, respecting the standards of consistency, accessibility, transparency and clarity beg renewed attention. So does the improvement of the impact assessment system and the role of science in law making. Furthermore, the EU institutions’ respect for the rule of law, proportionality, subsidiarity and the Charter of Fundamental Rights as the overriding rulebook for EU legislation need to be addressed. To what extent are these legal values part and parcel of the better regulation initiative and will better regulation produce a higher quality of legislation that sets the legal ground for greater economic growth to the benefit of both business and citizens? 

The ‘50 Years of Asser’ EU Law Symposium brings policy makers from Union institutions and Member States together with academics and practitioners for a discussion of the way forward in enhancing EU legislation in ways that are efficient, sustainable and uphold basic legal values of the EU and the Member States. 

Please note that the registration is now closed

>> Download the flyer and final programme (pdf)