Tag Archives: Legislation

Legal framework for mobile TV

Legal framework for mobile TV

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Legal framework for mobile TV


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Audiovisual and media

Legal framework for mobile TV

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 December 2008 – Legal Framework for Mobile TV Networks and Services: Best Practice for Authorisation – The EU Model [COM(2008) 845 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This communication follows on from that of 2007 on the strengthening of the internal market for mobile TV, which highlighted the importance of the regulatory environment in the take-up of such services. It provides examples of best practice on national regulatory approaches to mobile TV networks and services.

Since launching its mobile TV initiative, the Commission has published overviews of the existing regulatory landscape in Europe with regular updates. This fact-finding exercise showed that Member States have taken very differing approaches to mobile TV. Consequently, the Telecommunications Council of November 2007 requested that the Commission take a more active role and proceed with identifying best practice on authorisation regimes for mobile TV and guiding the national adoption thereof.

When the Commission launched its mobile TV initiative in July 2007, only a few Member States had started addressing regulatory issues. To date, some Member States have still not established a regulatory framework for mobile TV networks and services, while others intend to extend the application of the general broadcasting regime to mobile TV broadcasting. In any case, the Commission is stressing the importance of avoiding situations of regulatory uncertainty. Furthermore, due to the wireless nature of mobile TV and hence the possible cross-border characteristic that it may acquire in the future, the authorisation regimes should also consider the internal market dimension. It is essential that the national regulatory approaches be as consistent as possible, without dismissing the local specificities.

Currently, the European mobile TV market is characterised by three main regulatory models that define the licensed operator’s rights as well as obligations:

  • extension of existing Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) rules; however, this might not suffice eventually;
  • the “plain wholesale model”, where spectrum is assigned to a single operator may raise concerns under the competition directive, in particular if the assignment is made without an open and fair procedure under non-discriminatory rules;
  • the “integrated approach”, which in the Commission’s opinion seems to best suit the launch of the mobile TV service since it will involve all relevant market players.

The regulatory regime for mobile TV services should be conceived in such a way that any undue impediments or delays are avoided. The role of regulation should be to provide minimum standards, which will guarantee the efficient use of frequencies. The central elements to consider in the regulatory regime are the:

  • general framework, which should be clear, transparent and adaptable to new developments. The authorisation procedures should be efficient and open to all market players so that a level playing field is guaranteed. Similarly, a timely legislative process needs to be ensured. In order to tailor regulation to the needs of the market, Member States should put in place public consultation mechanisms. At the same time, regular reporting by public authorities on market developments is considered best practice, so that appropriate propositions can be made if the existing rules need to be adapted accordingly.
  • authorisation regimes, which should be clear and transparent. To this end, the relationship between e-communications, spectrum and content rules should be clearly defined. Furthermore, the granting of authorisations should be centralised through a “one-stop-shop” to provide for a simplified and coordinated procedure.
  • award procedures that should be public, transparent and well defined, and for which a clear schedule should be put in place ahead of the commercial trials of mobile TV services. The award criteria should insist on quality of service, optimal use of spectrum and collaboration among the market players. The criteria should be applied in an objective, transparent and non-discriminatory manner, with due consideration given to competition rules.
  • specific aspects, which should not impose any unnecessary burdens on operators. For example, “must-carry” rules are not appropriate at this stage of mobile TV service development; however, Member States should organise discussions on “must offer” rules. At the same time, network infrastructure sharing and co-location should be encouraged, while the issues concerning interoperability and roaming should also be taken into consideration.

To further guarantee the effectiveness of the regulatory practices relating to mobile TV, the Commission aims to continue promoting the exchange of best practice between national administrators and the relevant market players.

Communication on the practical implementation of directives on health and safety at work

Communication on the practical implementation of directives on health and safety at work

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Communication on the practical implementation of directives on health and safety at work


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Communication on the practical implementation of directives on health and safety at work

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions on the practical implementation of the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Directives 89/391 (Framework), 89/654 (Workplaces), 89/655 (Work Equipment), 89/656 (Personal Protective Equipment), 90/269 (Manual Handling of Loads) and 90/270 (Display Screen Equipment) [COM(2004) 62 – Not published in the Official Journal].



Directive 89/391/EEC changed the practical perspective of the protection of the health and safety of workers by introducing an integrated preventive approach and by making ongoing improvement of health and safety conditions at work a requirement. This new approach is based on the fundamental principles which the framework Directive 89/391/EEC introduced, namely, employer responsibility, prevention, information, training, consultation and participation of workers. Directive 89/391/EEC and Directives 89/654/EEC, 89/655/EEC, 89/656/EEC, 90/269/EEC and 90/270/EEC led to the rationalisation and simplification of the National legislative corpora. Transposal of the directives obliged the Member States to switch from legislation often based on remedial principles to a preventive approach based on individual behaviour and organisational structures.


Analysis of the transposal of the framework directive has made it possible to highlight shortcomings in nearly all the Member States, particularly as regards scope, employer responsibility, the principles of prevention, the extent of the obligation to evaluate risks to the health and safety of workers, protection and prevention services, the obligation to keep records of risk assessment in all types of companies and, lastly, information, consultation, participation and training of workers.
As far as individual directives are concerned, the situation as regards transposal is more positive and most of the shortcomings observed have been rectified without the need for infringement proceedings, which have, however, been necessary in certain cases.


Substantial heterogeneousness continues to exist in the practical implementation of the various directives, depending on the countries, the different sectors of activity and the size of company. Nevertheless, the primary aims of guaranteeing common minimum standards of protection through harmonisation of the recommendations on safety and health, reducing the number of accidents at work and the number of cases of occupational diseases, have been attained.

Publicity and supporting measures

Although National (action plans and awareness-raising campaigns) and European (role of the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work) measures have contributed greatly to better understanding of the new legislation and better awareness by employers and workers alike of their rights and obligations, the impact of these measures varies depending on the economic players to whom they apply. While things run smoothly from this point of view in the bigger companies, this is not the case in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), where a big effort is needed.

Awareness raising

Despite the huge volume of information available, the level of information among employers and workers, particularly in the SMEs, is insufficient. Employers point to problems in understanding the legislation. This stems from the nature of the provisions, which involve establishing a general objective, and from the fact that there is no information at National level to help employers establish prevention plans tailored to the risks detected in the risk assessment.

Risk assessment, documentation and supervision

The points to be improved concerning the practical implementation of the provisions related to the risk assessment are:

  • superficial, schematic procedures place tend to focus on obvious risks, while long-term effects (e.g. psychological and psycho-social factors) as well as the more insidious risks, e.g. those caused by chemical substances, are neglected;
  • as a result, there is no overall or integrated approach to risks and measures are taken in isolation;
  • risk assessment is often considered as a one-off obligation and lacks continuity;
  • the effectiveness of steps taken is not sufficiently monitored by employers.

Protective and preventive services

Not all companies comply with their obligation to set up departments to protect against and prevent occupational risks, either by designating a worker to carry out such activities or, if this is not possible, by calling in an external service. This is particularly the case of the SMEs.
The introduction of such services is held up by the lack of qualified personnel, the low quality of the services delivered (unilateral importance attached to the technical aspects, few multi-disciplinary services) and by the tendency for employers to use the cheapest possible services.

Information, consultation, participation and training

Few data are available on information flow but it is clear that the practical implementation of the obligation to inform workers leaves a lot to be desired by comparison with the other obligations which employers have to comply with. This is the case of nearly all the industrial sectors in all the Member Stakes irrespective of size of company. The problem is particularly manifest among temporary workers. Nor is the participation of workers organised satisfactorily despite the range of options proposed by the directives.

Organisation and management of health and safety at work

The growing complexity of work processes, trends in working conditions and changes in the types of risks encountered as a result, call for a transparent and systematic approach to health and safety at work. Yet, with the exception of the bigger companies, safety and health are seldom an integral part of companies’ overall management process.


Enforcement of health and safety at work legislation is primarily a matter for the labour inspectorates, often working in conjunction with other specialised monitoring agencies in certain sectors of activity. The progress made with implementation by the Member States is generally measured taking the ratio between the number of labour inspectors in each Member State and the number of inspections performed every year. 1 400 000 inspections are carried out every year in the European Union by approximately 12 000 inspectors.

The entry into force of the new EU health and safety legislation and does not appear to have boosted the number of inspections. In their reports, the Member States point to a chronic lack of resources in their labour inspectorates to cover all aspects of the new legislation, particularly in the SMEs.

The analysis carried out shows that the action of the EU labour inspectorates actively contributes to bringing down the rate of absenteeism due to occupational accidents and diseases and also to changing the approaches of those involved in prevention at workplace level. Further progress is needed in order to improve checks in the SMEs and the high-risk sectors and in order to make warnings and sanctions more dissuasive.

Analysis of two specific cases: SMEs and the public sector


The analysis shows that there are major shortcomings in complying with essential elements of EU health and safety legislation in SMEs, in particular as regards risk assessment, workers’ participation and training, and in the traditionally high-risk sectors of agriculture and construction. These shortcomings stem primarily from:

  • the lack of information and specific (targeted information distributed locally) and comprehensible guidelines;
  • poor capacity and skills in terms of health and safety;
  • lack of resources to ensure appropriate basic training of workforce and managers;
  • poor access to effective, specific and specialised technical assistance.

The public sector

The inclusion of the public sector within the scope of the health and safety legislation is a groundbreaking development in most Member States.

Despite problems in certain countries (particularly in the military sector), the transposal of European legislation in the public sector can all in all be considered to be satisfactory. The degree to which it is implemented nonetheless poses certain problems because:

  • it is widely held in public administration that the risk levels are negligible by comparison with the private sector;
  • it is not generally for labour inspectorates to intervene in public administration or the in-house departments responsible for this function do not have enough hierarchical autonomy;
  • the budgets allocated are often limited.


The National reports show that the majority of Member States consider that it is as yet too early to make a proper and full evaluation of effectiveness. Although nearly all Member States believe there has been a positive impact, they do not have the data or statistical results available yet to substantiate that impact. Nevertheless, the evaluation that the legislation has contributed to making the workplace safer is supported by general statistical data on occupational health and safety.

Effects on accidents at work and occupational diseases

The most up-to-date statistics (for the year 2000) show that the accident rate per 100 000 workers had fallen from 4513 to 4016 since 1994. Also by comparison with 1994, there was a marked improvement in the rate of fatal accidents in Europe, which fell back from 6423 to 5237 in 2000.

The 1999 labour force survey and those conducted by the European Foundation for Living and Working Conditions, for their part, show that the active population feels that working conditions have not improved overall. A great deal remains to be done with regard to monitoring and organising work in order to head off intensive working patterns, problems stemming from working on screen, repetitive movements and psychological damage.

Costs and benefits in the enterprises

Member States have indicated in their National reports that due to the lack of indicators they consider that it is not possible to make a full evaluation, but acknowledge that a reduction in accidents at work and worker absenteeism brings about a clear reduction in business costs, which should in turn boost productivity.

General economic effects

In the European Union the costs for accidents at work and work-related illnesses are estimated between 2.6 and 3.8% of the gross National product (GNP). 158 million days of work were lost in the Union in 2000. Around 350 000 workers were obliged to change their job as a result of an accident. Nearly 350 000 workers have various degrees of permanent disability and 15 000 have been forced out of the labour market. However, the fall in the number of accidents at work since the entry into force of Community legislation is estimated to have generated savings of 25 million days of work.
So, while the implementation of this legislation may not be totally satisfactory, it has definitely produced economic benefits.

Effects on employment and competitiveness

The beneficial effects of investment in health and safety at work take some time to filter through. This makes it very difficult for the time being to draw conclusions on the impact of the legislation in question on the competitiveness of the business sector. Cost/benefit analyses will have to be carried out in order to evaluate the short and longer term effects. As an overall conclusion, Member States in their National reports generally indicate that health and safety at work measures contribute towards improved working conditions, boosting productivity, employment and competitiveness.


Positive effects, problems with implementation and suggestions for improving the various Directives

  • Framework Directive 89/391/EEC

-This downward trend in the number of accidents at work and the aforementioned increase in employers’ awareness are considered by the Member States to be the great achievement of Directive 89/391/EEC. The following positive points were also mentioned:

  • emphasis on a prevention philosophy;
  • broadness of scope;
  • obligation for the employers to perform risk assessments and provide documentation;
  • obligation for the employer to inform and train workers;
  • rights and obligations of the workers;
  • the opportunity to consolidate, rationalise and simplify the National regulations in force.

The main problems pointed to by the Member States arose in the SME context and concerned the administrative obligations and formalities, the financial burden and at the time needed to prepare appropriate measures. Other difficulties were:

  • the lack of participation by the workers in the operational processes;
  • the absence of evaluation criteria for National labour inspectorates;
  • the lack of harmonised European statistical information system on occupational accidents and diseases;
  • problems in implementing certain provisions in the SMEs.

– If the degree of implementation of the directive is to be improved then there is a need to:

  • increase the level of application of the Directives in SMEs;
  • ensure the availability of comprehensive and harmonised statistics on occupational accidents;
  • provide easy access to information and assistance for employers and workers to make them aware of their rights and obligations;
  • step up action and allocate the resources necessary to guarantee uniform, effective and equivalent implementation;
  • identify any provisions of the Directives that have been outdated by technological development and need to be reviewed;
  • focus greater attention on the specific situation of temporary workers.
  • Directive 89/654/EEC on workplaces

– The positive aspects:

  • regulation of various situations which would not have received the required attention had they not been dealt with by the European Directive, e.g. windows, translucent partitions, doors or gates opening upwards, emergency routes and exits, etc.;
  • reinforcing regulations on the employers’ obligations relating to workplaces used for the first time, and workplaces already in use.

Implementation difficulties:

  • excessive detail concerning certain aspects, this being detrimental to the proper transposal of the directive ;
  • unclear distinction made by the Directive between workplaces used for the first time and those already in use ;
  • the investment required to adopt the new provisions in SMEs.

– Suggestions for improvement:

  • the need for a co-ordinated approach to the problems regarding environmental conditions, e.g. by exchange of relevant experience among Member States;
  • the establishment of guidelines and recommendations (with up-to-date data, charts and figures) in order to clarify certain aspects (ventilation, lighting, temperature, dimensions of the workplace, etc.);
  • examining the provisions which are applicable to teleworking.
  • Directive 89/655/EEC on the use of work equipment by workers at work

-The positive points:

  • minimum safety level for work equipment defined;
  • National regulations unified and harmonised, which has contributed towards simplification;
  • scope extended to a greater number of items of work equipment;
  • standards generally clearer and more specific;
  • employer awareness raised with regard to the safety level of work equipment;
  • adaptation, official approval and modernisation of work equipment in use;
  • more active prevention of risks associated with the use of work equipment;
  • better analysis of factors to be taken into account when acquiring new equipment.

– Implementation difficulties:

  • excessive cost for SMEs which do not have the necessary financial resources;
  • the need for long-term investment to adapt work equipment;
  • the practical distinction between the Directive on safety in the use of work equipment and the machinery Directive has not been made sufficiently clear;
  • the definition of various safety levels for a machine already in use and for a new machine makes it difficult to adapt it to the requirements of the Directive.

-Suggestions for improvement:

  • clarification of the various safety levels for a machine in use and for a new machine;
  • support measures to smooth over the implementation of the directive, particularly for the SMEs: financial aid, loans, etc;
  • publication of guidelines on the practical part of the provisions.
  • Directive 89/656/EEC on the use by workers of personal protective equipment

– The positive points:

  • National legislation has been standardised, simplified and co-ordinated;
  • extension of the regulations to new sectors and new equipment ;
  • obligation on the employer to assess risks before selecting individual protection equipment and a widespread increase in awareness as regards the conditions to be met by this equipment;
  • greater detail in the regulations, which entail, for instance, knowing the exact type of activities in which certain individual protection equipment is mandatory.

– Implementation difficulties:

  • lack of assistance for SMEs, which have difficulty in selecting suitable protection equipment by themselves;
  • cost of new equipment for small companies;
  • workers insufficiently familiar with the use of personal protective equipment.

– Suggestions for improvement:

  • the Commission should publish specific guidelines and codes of good practice, which would include selection criteria for personal protective equipment;
  • supplement the annexes to the directive in order to make it easier for companies to choose equipment;
  • synchronisation and simplification of implementation reports.
  • Directive 90/269/EEC on the manual handling of loads

– The positive points:

  • support for existing regulations on manual handling of loads in some Member States;
  • regulations which are clear and have been generally applied without problems;
  • improvements in the level of awareness of employers (taking on board the ergonomics aspects in risk assesment);
  • these obligations have been put into practice in nearly all sectors of industry.

– Implementation difficulties:

  • job losses could result from a high level of mechanisation and costs;
  • some aspects of the Directive are considered too detailed (although this is considered a positive aspect in some Member States);
  • the possibility that a series of workplaces may cease to be considered as suitable for women;
  • the absence of standards other than those of load weight and distance, regarding rest periods and rest intervals.

– Suggestions for improvement:

  • several Member States are of the opinion that limit values should be set, since the margin for interpretation allowed as regards manual handling of loads is excessive;
  • the Commission should give details concerning evaluation models and guidelines;
  • the application of ergonomics principles to the handling of materials should be given closer attention.

Directive 90/270/EEC on work with visual display equipment

– The positive points:

  • further support for control and improvement of the ergonomics aspects of workstations using visual display equipment;
  • introduction of rest periods and the workers’ right to better health surveillance, in particular eye tests;
  • these obligations have been put into practice in nearly all sectors of the industry.

– Implementation difficulties

  • a number of problems are difficult to solve (use of natural light, the ergonomics aspects of seating, the inability to neutralise certain electromagnetic fields);
  • confusion as to who is authorised to or should carry out eye tests;
  • problems stemming from teleworking and supervision of working conditions within that framework.

– Suggestions for improvement:

  • it would be advisable to specify the provisions on changes of activity or rest periods, as well as the persons to whom they should apply;
  • the problems caused by electromagnetic radiation from terminals, lasers and magnetic fields should be examined;
  • various Member States consider a review of the Directive to be appropriate, in order to adapt it to technological development.


The analysis concerns the transposition and application of the framework directive 89/391 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work as well as of the first five individual directives, addressing particular workplace environments or risks. The individual directives concern in particular:

  • minimum requirements for the workplace (Directive 89/654/EEC)
  • the use of work equipment (Directive 89/655/EEC)
  • personal protective equipment (Directive 89/656/EEC)
  • manual handling of loads (Directive 90/269/EEC)
  • display screen equipment (Directive 90/270/EEC)

This report is the Commission’s response to the call made in the framework directive and in the five individual directives to “submit a report on the implementation of the various directives at regular intervals to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee”

A major input to this Communication are the National reports provided by the Member States in accordance with the directives which state that “Member States shall report to the Commission every five years (every four years for Directives 90/269 and 90/270) on the practical implementation of the provisions of this Directive, indicating the points of view of employers and workers”. It is also based on a report by independent experts.

Key figures of the act (for the year 2000)

  • Number of accidents (having resulted in absence from work of over three days): for 100.000 workers, 4016 cases (4539 in 1994);
  • Fatal accident rate: 5237 cases (643 in 1994);
  • Cost of accidents at work and of occupational diseases: between 2.6 and 3.8% of GDP
  • Days of work lost as a result of accidents at work: 158 million;
  • 7% of accident victims are forced to change jobs;
  • 4% of accident victims have to reduce their working hours or suffer varying degrees of permanent disability;
  • 15.000 workers were forced out of the employment market for good following an accident at work;
  • 14% of workers have more than one accident per year.

Fewer administrative formalities for more growth

Fewer administrative formalities for more growth

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Fewer administrative formalities for more growth


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Fewer administrative formalities for more growth

The Commission proposes associating the improvement and simplification of regulations with the achievement of the Lisbon objectives. The Commission draws a link between better regulation and stronger growth, which in turn leads to the provision of more and better jobs. Cutting down on administrative formalities will allow businesses to stimulate growth and create more jobs in the European Union. In order to achieve this objective, the Commission presents tools for better regulation and wishes to strengthen dialogue between the regulatory services of the EU and those of the Member States.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 16 March 2005, entitled “Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs in the European Union” [COM(2005) 97 – Not published in the Official Journal].


The aim of this Communication is to stimulate growth and employment by promoting the improvement and simplification of regulations in areas affecting European competitiveness. The Commission considers that this process of regulatory simplification helps to make Europe a more attractive place for investors and workers.

The complexity of Community legislation is counterproductive for the public authorities, businesses, citizens and social partners. The legislative and administrative burdens are particularly onerous for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for two thirds of employment in the European Union (EU).

Simplification of existing legislation

Action must be taken at all levels. Cooperation with the Parliament and the Council is therefore essential, as is the Member States’ commitment to guaranteeing that the principles of better regulation are respected.

The strategy for regulatory simplification is one of the cornerstones of the Better Regulation initiative. This simplification goes further than simply rewriting the existing legislative texts, requiring efforts to create more effective, more flexible and more proportionate rules for those who must respect and apply them.

With a view to increasing the impact on growth and competitiveness of the legislative simplification initiative, the Commission proposes taking the following measures:

  • identifying the legislation in need of simplification in cases where legislative complexity proves to be disproportionate. The Commission proposes using websites on better regulation to let businesses, NGOs and citizens air their views and give specific examples of the administrative costs arising from the legislation to which they are subject;
  • devising integrated sectoral action plans to simplify essential technical measures which concern a number of sectors, such as manufacturing industry, the car industry, the fisheries sector or the telecommunications sector;
  • promoting the use of European standards as technical back-up for European legislation or as an alternative to legislation.

The Commission drew up an initial simplification programme as early as 2003 with a view to reducing the volume of the Community acquis. It proposed taking a more systematic approach to consolidation and codification once a legislative instrument had been amended and deleting obsolete legislation from the acquis. The Commission calls upon the stakeholders concerned at Community and national level to continue their efforts in this direction.

As regards existing legislation, the Council drew up a list in 2004 of legislative instruments divided into fifteen priority groups for potential simplification. At the start of 2005, following impact analyses on the scope of the simplification process for this list of instruments, an extensive consultation of the Member States and the business community supplemented by an on-line public consultation pushed the Commission to focus primarily on certain key areas, in line with the objectives of competitiveness and economic revival, such as company law, financial services, transport and consumer protection.

Impact assessment

The Commission undertakes to carry out impact assessments with a view to meticulously analysing the economic, social and environmental consequences of the new legislation. These assessments go hand-in-hand with a wide-scale consultation in order to gather the opinions of all stakeholders wishing to contribute to the drafting of the new rules.

In accordance with the new guidelines for impact assessments, emphasis is laid on economic aspects. The main objective is to support competitiveness, including effective competition, while still assessing the social and environmental consequences of the proposed measures. A complex network of various rules at national and regional level will only undermine competition, whereas the application of a single rule in all the Member States is simpler and more effective.

Better regulation at Member State level

Better regulation is not solely a Community concern based on close interinstitutional cooperation: the Member States can also help to reduce bureaucracy. The Commission wants better regulation to become an integral part of the Lisbon National Action Plans. With this aim in mind, it recommends that the Member States:

  • take national measures to promote better regulation, which should include impact analysis systems and simplification programmes;
  • engage in preventive dialogue with the Commission services in order to avoid introducing procedures which are not automatically required by a directive at the time of its transposition for harmonised areas reserved for texts deemed to be essential;
  • use infringement proceedings and preventive controls to improve the quality of regulations in terms of transparency, legibility and efficiency in non-harmonised areas such as the free movement of goods.

In 2005, the Commission set up advisory monitoring bodies involving:

  • national experts on the issue of better regulation. This group advises the Commission, particularly as regards simplification and impact analyses. It strengthens cooperation between the Commission and the Member States, thereby improving the quality of the implementation of Community legislation;
  • independent experts on better regulation, who can intervene at the request of the Commission. These experts are responsible for giving an external opinion on the scientific rigour of the methodology used for specific impact analyses.

The Commission will continue to publish assessment reports with a view to monitoring the implementation of the simplification strategy.

Related Acts

First progress report on the strategy for the simplification of the regulatory environment, 14 November 2006 [COM(2006) 690 – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Commission working document complements the Communication on the Strategic Review of Better Regulation in the European Union. The Commission takes stock of the progress achieved in the implementation of the simplification strategy. It adds 43 initiatives to those identified in October 2005 with a view to enhancing the simplification process in the period 2006-2009. These new initiatives range from administrative simplification in agriculture and the revision of the eco-label award scheme to the simplification of existing legislation on toys.

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 14 November 2005, entitled “A strategic review of Better Regulation in the European Union” [COM(2006) 689 – Not published in the Official Journal].

This strategic review analyses the progress achieved and maps out the main challenges ahead. The Commission considers that great effort has gone into achieving better regulation in the EU, but that the programme must continue to be followed with determination. The Commission, the Parliament, the Council and the Member States can do even more. The Commission insists on the need to further simplify the legislation in force, reduce administrative burdens and codify and repeal obsolete legislation. As regards cooperation with the Member States, the most visible progress can be observed in the measurement of administrative costs and the reduction of burdens. Although only relatively few countries systematically use integrated impact assessments for all new legislative proposals, and the results often cannot be subjected to an external audit, many ad hoc initiatives are taken at national level to lighten the administrative burden, such as on-line administration, one-stop shops and national registration offices.

Communication from the Commission of 21 October 2005 on an EU common methodology for assessing administrative costs imposed by legislation [COM(2005) 518 – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Communication outlines an EU common methodology and proposes the next steps for its introduction. The EU common methodology for assessing administrative costs must be applied in a proportionate manner, in other words only when the scale of the administrative obligations imposed by an EU act justifies it. However, some efforts to minimise the administrative burden have not involved quantification. In those cases, complaints and suggestions from targeted groups are gathered through public consultation. A group of experts then examines the regulatory framework and makes recommendations for simplification. The Commission considers that an EU common methodology provides net added value, provided that it is not applied at the expense of analysis of other impacts.

Communication from the Commission of 27 September 2005, entitled “Outcome of the screening of legislative proposals pending before the Legislator” [COM(2005) 462 – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Communication relates to the screening by the Commission of all proposals pending before the Council and the Parliament. One of the factors contributing to the success of the simplification objectives is interinstitutional cooperation. These impact assessments, defined in the Communication of March 2005, relate to pending proposals. When the screening process was launched in April 2005, the total number of pending proposals was 489. The Commission provides for two types of action: the withdrawal of proposals and the continuation of the legislative process with an in-depth economic analysis. Following screening by the Commission, action will be taken as regards the 73 pending proposals which were considered not to be consistent with the Lisbon objectives.

This fact sheet is not legally binding on the European Commission, it does not claim to be exhaustive and does not represent an official interpretation of the text of the Treaty.

European Charter for Small Enterprises

European Charter for Small Enterprises

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Charter for Small Enterprises


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enterprise > Business environment

European Charter for Small Enterprises

Document or Iniciative

Annex III to the Conclusions of the Presidency of the Santa Maria Da Feira European Council of 19 and 20 June 2000.


Small enterprises are the driving force for innovation and job creation in Europe. Their small size makes them very sensitive to changes in the industry and environment in which they operate. This is why emphasis was placed on the need to facilitate the development of small enterprises by the Heads of State or Government and the European Commission at the European Council in Feira (Portugal) on 19 and 20 June 2000.

The Heads of State or Government and the European Commission acknowledge the dynamic capacity of small enterprises, particularly when it comes to providing new services, creating jobs and fostering social and regional development. They also stress the importance of entrepreneurship and of not penalising some of the failures. They also agree on the strength of values such as knowledge, commitment and flexibility in the new economy.

In order to stimulate entrepreneurship and improve the business environment for small enterprises, the Heads of State or Government and the European Commission have decided to work on ten routes of action, i.e.:

  • Education and training for entrepreneurship

Business principles will have to be taught from an early age if an ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ is to be encouraged; this applies particularly to secondary and university levels, in encouraging entrepreneurial initiatives by young people and developing training programmes for small enterprises.

  • Cheaper and faster start-up

Company start-ups will become cheaper and faster, particularly through the use of online registration.

  • Better legislation and regulation

There will be a reduction in the negative impact of national bankruptcy laws and new regulations on small enterprises. It will be made easier for small enterprises to use administrative documents and they will not have to enforce certain regulative obligations.

  • Availability of skills

Training institutions will impart skills adapted to the needs of small enterprises and provide lifelong training and consultancy services.

  • Improving online access

Public administrations will be urged to develop online services for their dealings with enterprises.

  • Getting more out of the single market

The Member States and the European Commission will complete the single market so that enterprises can derive the maximum benefit from it. At the same time, national and Community competition rules will have to be strictly applied.

  • Taxation and financial matters

Tax systems will need to make life easier for enterprises. Access to finance (risk capital, structural funds) will also need to be improved.

  • Strengthening the technological capacity of small enterprises

Efforts will be made to promote new technologies, implement the Community patent and facilitate access to research programmes which are more focused on commercial applications. Inter-firm cooperation and cooperation with higher education institutions and research centres will be encouraged.

  • Successful e-business models and top-class small business support

Enterprises will be encouraged to adopt best practices. Business support services will be developed.

  • Develop stronger, more effective representation of SMEs’ interests at Union and national level

Solutions aimed at representing small enterprises within the Member States and the European Union will be reviewed. National and Community policies will be better coordinated and evaluations will be carried out with a view to improving the performance of small enterprises. An annual report on the implementation of the Charter will appear in the spring of each year.

For the EU Member States, the implementation process was launched in the spring of 2000. The acceding and candidate countries were involved in the process from the spring of 2002. Following the adoption of the Charter by the acceding and candidate countries in Maribor (Slovenia) on 23 April 2002, the process was also launched in other areas. The Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro) adopted the Charter in Thessaloniki (Greece) in June 2003. In 2004, these countries embarked upon the first stage of the implementation process, with Moldova joining in that same year.

Related Acts

At the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers for Industry held in Caserta on 4 October 2004, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian National Authority, Syria and Tunisia approved the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Enterprise.

The main objective of this Charter is to prepare for the creation of the Euromed free trade area, strengthen Euro-Mediterranean partnerships and create an environment favourable to businesses in the region. It is based largely on the model of the European Charter for Small Enterprises.