On October 6, 2009, the Council of the European Union publicized its draft conclusions on Better Regulation for the 3-4 December 2009 Competitiveness Council. The text of these conclusions is available here.

In its draft conclusions, the Council acknowledges that important progress has been achieved both at EU level and in the member states in taking the Better Regulation Agenda forward; it stresses, however, that more needs to be done.

With respect to Impact Assessment, the Council considers that there is scope for quality improvement as regards, inter alia, evaluation of alternative policy options, transparency and quantification of administrative burdens as well as other costs and benefits. It also invites the member states to continue to establish or further develop their impact assessment systems, including providing their civil servants with training in handling impact assessments.

Furthermore, the Council stresses the need for early and timely stakeholder consultation, using appropriate methods, throughout the policy-making cycle to enhance regulatory quality; in addition, it reaffirms the importance of enhancing access to law and the need for clear and simple language in order to make the regulatory framework easier to comply with. Therefore, it invites the Commission to

– enhance the use of consultation during the whole policy-making cycle;

– consider the creation of an easily accessible multi-lingual website, a “single entry point”, with updated relevant information on policies and initiatives related to business.