Foreign Policy Blogs

Bye, bye bureaucracy

Copyright smallbizpodCutting red tape is just one of the avowed goals of the Barroso Commission. A high-level expert group including the former Bavarian state governor, Edmund Stoiber, and international management consulting guru Roland Berger has been given the mandate to examine how to most effectively reduce bureaucratic hurdles and enhance the functioning of the internal market. The group reports directly to EU Commission Vice-President, Gunter Verheugen. The overall goal is to slash the administrative burden placed on businesses by 25% by 2012 , a move the Commission claims could give a €150 billion boost to the European economy.

The group has already taken up its work, criticizing the hurdles small businesses face in applying for licences and permits, which often have to be approved by 27 different authorities in their respective languages. Though plans were likely already in the works before Stoiber and his fellow analysts set out, their comments seem to have been heard.

Ahead of the EU Spring Summit, which traditionally examines the Union's economic progress along the goals mapped out in the 2000 Lisbon Agenda, the Commission and Parliament have now approved a plan to lift the burden of static regulations for some of its most active growth promotors: it's small and medium sized enterprises. The new program will ease key linguistic and statistical burdens, facilitating licencing across the board.

The Commission and the expert group estimate that EUR 500 million in savings could be the immediate result. EU Heads of State are likely to give the plans their nod of approval at the Council Summit on March 13th and 14th.



Cathryn Cluver

Cathryn Cluver is a journalist and EU analyst. Now based in Hamburg, Germany, she previously worked at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, Belgium, where she was Deputy Editor of the EU policy journal, Challenge Europe. Prior to that, she was a producer with CNN-International in Atlanta and London. Cathryn graduated from the London School of Economics with a Master's Degree in European Studies and holds a BA with honors from Brown University in International Relations.

Areas of Focus:
Refugees; Immigration; Europe


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