The exploratory opinion on the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Program (REFIT) (Rapporteur: Mr. Denis Meynent), was adopted by the EESC at its plenary on 26 May 2016. This opinion follows a direct request from the First Vice President of the European Commission, Mr Timmermans, as the EESC is considered to be well-placed to assess the costs and benefits of the current rules for stakeholders and to suggest REFIT priorities - in particular in the areas of enterprise, industry and social affairs - with a view to finding simpler ways to achieve results.
The EESC notes the importance of keeping the REFIT programme's prime aim of enhancing the quality and effectiveness of EU legislation and drafting simple, understandable and coherent rules without calling into question established strategic objectives or being detrimental to the protection of citizens, consumers, workers, social dialogue or the environment. In the committee's view, legislation is vital to achieving the aims of the Treaties, and an essential factor in European integration. However, the opinion insists that the decision-making process should be smooth and relevant, and the bodies in charge of the legitimacy of the process must not by any means undermine this decision-making, which must remain sovereign and be protected from bureaucratisation. In this regard, the committee's opinion calls for the Parliament, the Council and the European Commission to agree on a common methodology on impact assessments, which could also serve as a prompt for the EESC and the Committee of the Regions.
Consultations of citizens, experts and stakeholders as part of REFIT should be as open as possible, but not be a substitute for consulting the EESC, the Committee of Regions and the social partners.
The opinion has also scrutinised other related issues, amongst them; the REFIT Platform, the Better regulation package, the ex-post assessment of the effects of regulation, and the European Parliament's own-initiative report regarding the annual report on the implementation of EU legislation by Member States.