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 EU laws should have UK five year review clause, says Government

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PostSubject: EU laws should have UK five year review clause, says Government   Fri May 27, 2011 5:49 am

All EU laws should have a five-year review date when turned into UK law, the Government has said. Policy makers should write a duty for ministers to review into any EU-derived law, according to a Government guide to implementing EU rules.

"Reviewing the impact of the legislation implementing a Directive every five years provides an essential check on whether the original policy objectives (including expected benefits and costs) are being achieved, and whether any changes or improvements could be made," according to The Transposition Guidance: How to implement European Directives effectively.

"It is also helpful in building up an evidence base to influence future policy-making in the EU," the guide said.

Both the Reducing Regulation Committee and the European Affairs Committee should approve a Ministerial review before it is published, the guide said.

According to the guide, the Government will try to avoid creating new laws when complying with new EU laws.

It is often impossible to avoid writing new laws to comply with new EU laws, but where possible alternatives to regulation should be considered, the guide said.

"The Government is committed to regulating only where it is plainly necessary to do so, and only having demonstrated that the regulatory option is better than any alternative options," the guide said.

"On occasion a Directive may be implemented in a manner that may be more flexible than command-and-control regulation, e.g. self-regulation, co-regulation or legally binding guidance," the guide said.

"Always ask yourself, seeking legal advice as necessary, whether such an approach is possible, whether it is compliant with our EU obligations and how this may affect implementation," the guide said.

Policy makers should engage with the European Commission at the earliest stages and should lobby for a flexible approach to implementation, the guide said.

It is imperative that UK businesses are not put at a competitive disadvantage compared to European rivals as a result of how the UK implements Directives, the guide said. To avoid hurting business, policy makers should identify existing regulations that could be removed under new EU law and identify where the UK already meets the requirements set out in a new Directive, it said.

"Where there are opportunities for significant deregulation resulting from new EU directives, Ministers will need to ensure that existing UK super equivalent legislation is reviewed and consider whether it can be brought into line with EU minimum standards where a failure to do so would put UK businesses at a competitive disadvantage compared with their European counterparts," the guide said.

When new laws have to be written in the UK, it is often appropriate just to copy the wording of the Directive directly, the guide said.

"Always use copy-out for transposition where it is available, except where doing so would adversely affect UK interests e.g. by putting UK businesses at a competitive disadvantage compared with their European counterparts," the guide said.

"If departments do not use copy-out, they will need to explain to the [Reducing Regulation Committee] the reasons for their choice," the guide said.

The UK should only introduce new laws set out by EU Directives on the date the European Commission said it has to come into force unless bringing it in earlier can be justified, the guide said.

"Where provisions introduced by Directives are unequivocally advantageous to business, implementation can be sought as early as possible," the guide said.

It may be appropriate to implement new laws based on EU Directives on 6 April or 1 October to coincide with the introduction of other new laws the UK often introduces on these dates, the guide said.

"Bringing implementation forward in the UK by a matter of weeks to coincide with a Common Commencement Date can be justified it if can be demonstrated that the benefit of early implementation outweighs the cost," the guide said.

The guide also offered advice on when it is a good idea to formally consult on how best to comply with EU Directives and the mechanisms of approval required before the Cabinet can sign off the new measures
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