Good governance and Better Regulation
It is our democratic right to make rules that hold companies to account. Help us build a Europe that puts people and the planet first.
Over the last decade European politicians have started to undermine the protections that many people depend on. The interests of corporations have been prioritised over the needs of citizens and the environment. Rules designed to protect us and the habitats we hold dear have been painted as “burdens” on business, and attempts are being made to destroy them. This hasn’t happened by mistake.
What is Europe for? Around the continent, people are questioning the purpose of European Union. When the European project began, treating all Europeans equally and preserving their basic freedoms was central. But when institutions allowed the interests of businesses to come above the interests of citizens, we moved away from the values that brought Europe together in the first place. Regulation ensures our basic freedoms such as clean air, a safe environment, and decent working conditions. We need a Europe that puts the rights of people first with valued, principled regulations.
The problem: Creeping deregulation
Over the last decade Europe has embarked on a dangerous programme of deregulation. Elected politicians at the time called it ‘Better Regulation’, but there is nothing ‘better’ about it. ‘Better Regulation’ started in the European Commission in the early 2000s with the modest goal to get rid of genuinely unnecessary regulations. But over the years its scope and ambition has evolved, and so has the story that it sets out to tell. ‘Better Regulation’ is today about reducing the overall costs of regulatory “burdens” to business and framing regulation as a “load” that needs to be lifted. It is a narrow, outdated, ideological crusade.
The current Commission has introduced the ‘one in, one out’ approach through the REFIT programme. This principle means that newly introduced regulation must be ‘offset’ by removing equivalent ‘burdens’ in the same policy area. This principle risks dismantling valuable environmental and health protections. Through its membership in the Fit For Future platform, the EEB seeks to counter the push for deregulation by ensuring that relevant fitness checks are not undermining environmental objectives and opposing any trade and investment agreements that threaten to undermine the EU’s environmental laws and policies or prevent its further development by limiting the EU’s regulatory autonomy.