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European Journal of Law Reform


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Issue 1-2, 2017 Expand all abstracts
Editorial

The European Union’s New “Better Regulation” Agenda: Between Procedures and Politics

Introduction to the Special Issue

Authors Mariolina Eliantonio and Aneta Spendzharova
Author's information

Mariolina Eliantonio
Mariolina Eliantonio is Associate Professor of European Administrative Law at Maastricht University.

Aneta Spendzharova
Aneta Spendzharova is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Maastricht University.
Article

Regulatory Review of European Commission Impact Assessments

What Kind for Which Better Regulation Scenario?

Keywords impact assessment, Better Regulation, non-judicial review, regulatory scrutiny, European Union
Authors Anne C.M. Meuwese
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article maps the various ways in which review of Commission impact assessments takes place by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board, the European Ombudsman, the European Court of Auditors, and the Court of Justice of the European Union, among others, and assesses the effect these review activities have on the framework and functioning of this primary Better Regulation tool.


Anne C.M. Meuwese
Tilburg Law School, The Netherlands, Professor of European and Comparative Public Law.
Article

Get Your Money’s Worth from Investment Advice

Analysing the Clash over the Knowledge and Competence Requirements in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II)

Keywords Better Regulation, ESMA, financial regulation, expertise, MiFID II
Authors Aneta Spendzharova, Elissaveta Radulova and Kate Surala
AbstractAuthor's information

    This special issue aims to examine whether there is an enduring politicization in the European Union (EU) “Better Regulation” agenda despite the emphasis on neutral evidence-based policy making. Our article addresses this overarching research question by focusing on the use of stakeholder consultations in the case of financial sector governance, particularly, the amended Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II). We show that calibrating key provisions in MiFID II, such as those concerning knowledge and expertise, is not a simple exercise in rational problem definition and policy design. The provisions examined in this article have important repercussions for financial sector firms’ business strategies and operations. Thus, investment firms, banks, training institutes and public organizations have mobilized and actively sought to assert their views on the appropriate requirements for professional knowledge and experience in MiFID II. We found that, following the stakeholder consultation, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) opted for a minimum harmonization approach at the EU level. At the same time, ESMA also supported giving the respective national competent authorities sufficient remit to issue additional requirements in accordance with national laws and regulatory practices. Our article demonstrates that while public consultations provide rich evidence for the policy making process, they also contribute to the lasting politicization of regulatory decisions.


Aneta Spendzharova
Aneta Spendzharova is Assistant Professor in the Political Science department of Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

Elissaveta Radulova
Elissaveta Radulova is Assistant Professor in the Political Science department of Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

Kate Surala
Kate Surala is a graduate student in the MSc in Law and Finance, Pembroke College, University of Oxford, UK.
Article

Consultations, Citizen Narratives and Evidence-Based Regulation

The Strange Case of the Consultation on the Collaborative Economy

Keywords Better Regulation, consultations, evidence-based lawmaking, sharing economy, narratives
Authors Sofia Ranchordás
AbstractAuthor's information

    The 2015 Better Regulation Communication advocates an evidence-based approach to regulation, which includes better consultations and broader civic engagement. In this article, I consider the recent EU public consultation on the regulatory environment of online platforms and the collaborative economy. I enquire in this context whether citizens were seriously regarded as evidence providers and how their knowledge that materialized in individual narratives could contribute to more legitimate and thus better regulation. I argue that an evidence-based approach to regulation should also include citizen narratives as they can provide first-hand and diverse perspectives, which might not be considered in standard consultation questions. I contend that citizen narratives can be particularly useful in complex and rapidly evolving fields where there is still little empirical evidence and where participants are likely to have diverse personal experiences. Drawing on the literature on narratives, I contend that this method of collecting information can help regulators identify new problems and structure solutions in rapidly changing and diverse regulatory fields such as the collaborative economy.


Sofia Ranchordás
Sofia Ranchordás is an Assistant Professor of Administrative and Constitutional Law at Leiden Law School, the Netherlands, and Affiliated Fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.
Article

The Politicization of ex post Policy Evaluation in the EU

Keywords policy evaluation, Better Regulation, participation, REFIT, politicization
Authors Stijn Smismans
AbstractAuthor's information

    The European Commission’s 2015 Better Regulation package has placed ex post evaluation at the centre of European governance. This strengthens a trend of gradual politicization of evaluation in European policymaking. This article analyses how the European Commission’s approach to ex post policy evaluation has changed over the last decade. It shows how evaluation has developed from a rather technical process to a more politicized process, which is clearly linked to political priority setting, subject to centralized control, and involving a wider set of actors. At the same time, the Commission avoids a profound debate on the merits and objectives of the process of evaluation itself. The article concludes on the merits and risks of evaluation at times of rising populism.


Stijn Smismans
Stijn Smismans is a professor of law at the School of Law and Politics and director of the Centre for European Law and Governance at Cardiff University.
Article

Why Better Regulation Demands Better Scrutiny of Results

The European Parliament’s Use of Performance Audits by the European Court of Auditors in ex post Impact Assessment

Keywords EU budget, European Parliamentary Research Service, policy evaluation, scrutiny, oversight
Authors Paul Stephenson
AbstractAuthor's information

    Ex post impact assessment (traditionally considered part of policy evaluation) received less attention in the preceding ‘Better Regulation’ package (2011) than ex ante impact assessment. Yet, the insights generated through ex post impact assessment provide crucial input for streamlining legislation. In recognition of its contribution, the current agenda (2015) extends the reach to policy evaluation, and from financial instruments to regulatory instruments. In light of existing experience with impact assessments in Commission Directorates-General (DGs), the European Union (EU) institutions have been increasingly aware of the need to develop staff expertise in ex post (policy) evaluation, which has in the past been largely outsourced to external parties. Making sense of collected input and incorporating it within impact assessment is time consuming. Indeed, taking up the findings for practical use is a challenge for political decision makers but essential for the purposes of accountability, scrutiny and institutional learning. The challenge is more so, given the wealth of information being generated by multiple parties and the increasing technical and financial complexity of certain policy areas. The role of the Commission as an advocate of ‘Better Regulation’ has been studied extensively. However, we know relatively little about the role of the European Parliament (EP) in ex post evaluation. This article contributes to the literature on ‘Better Regulation in the EU’ by shedding light on the EP activities in the realm of scrutiny and evaluation. In particular, it looks at the Parliament’s use of special reports produced by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) through its performance audit work and how it takes on board the findings and recommendations in its scrutiny of budgetary spending. Moreover, it examines the emerging role of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) in monitoring the outputs of the ECA and other bodies engaged in audit and evaluation, and thereby, the way in which the EPRS is helping increase the Parliament’s capacity for scrutiny and oversight.


Paul Stephenson
Maastricht University.
Article

Private Regulation in EU Better Regulation

Past Performance and Future Promises

Keywords Better Regulation, private regulation, self-regulation, co-regulation, impact assessment
Authors Paul Verbruggen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The promotion of private regulation is frequently part of better regulation programmes. Also the Better Regulation programme of the European Union (EU) initiated in 2002 advocated forms of private regulation as important means to improve EU law-making activities. However, for various reasons the ambition to encourage private regulation as a genuine governance response to policy issues has remained a paper reality. This contribution asks whether and to what extent the 2015 EU Agenda on Better Regulation provides renewed guidance on how private regulation might be integrated in EU law-making processes. To that end, it builds on previous (empirical) research conducted on European private regulation and reviews the principal policy documents constituting the new EU agenda on better regulation. It is argued that while the new agenda addresses a number of the shortcomings of the old programme concerning the conceptualization and practice of private regulation in the EU, it still falls short of providing principled guidance on how private regulation can be combined and integrated in EU law-making.


Paul Verbruggen
Tilburg University, The Netherlands, Assistant Professor of Global and Comparative Private Law. I thank the participants to the seminar, the editors of this special issue, and Thomas van Golen for their helpful comments and suggestions. All errors are mine.
Article

Alternative Forms of Regulation: Are They Really ‘Better’ Regulation?

A Case Study of the European Standardization Process

Keywords Better Regulation, co-regulation, standardization, judicial review
Authors Mariolina Eliantonio
AbstractAuthor's information

    One of the commitments of the Better Regulation Package is to consider ‘both regulatory and well-designed non-regulatory means’. Such mechanisms include co-regulation, i.e. administrative processes which involve the participation of private parties, such as the social partners or the standardization bodies, as (co-)decision makers. While the involvement of private parties in European Union (EU) administrative governance has the clear advantage of delivering policies which are based on the expertise of the regulatees themselves, private-party rule-making raises significant concerns in terms of its legitimacy. This article aims to discuss the gaps of judicial protection which exist in co-regulation mechanisms, by taking the case study of the standardization process. After an introduction to the issue of co-regulation and the rationale for the involvement of private parties in EU administrative governance, the standardization process will be examined and the mechanisms of judicial supervision will be reviewed in order to establish the possible gaps of judicial protection.


Mariolina Eliantonio
Dr. M. Eliantonio is an associate professor of European Administrative Law at the Law Faculty of Maastricht University, The Netherlands.