miércoles, 17 de junio de 2015

Better regulation and EU digital policies

According with wikipedia, a policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. Governments defines policies for different areas which in turn are divided in policy packages to tackle its main elements. An efficient and effective policy making process is based on the identification of real challenges and building up the most correct policy to tackle it. In the policy-making process takes part many actors, so the quality of the product depends on the assumption by all the actors of the need of evidences for all decision to be taken

The European Commission has recently launched a "Better Regulation" initiative to improve the policy-making process in the European Union. One crucial objective of this initiative is achieving better impact assessments across all the complex EU legislative process. The objective is that the European Commission proposal and all the substantive amendments introduced by the Council and the Parliament should be based in impact assessments based on evidences. We have some clues that the EU institutions may not always acts based on this principle, at least in the digital policies. 

A first example of the above can be found in the Digital Single Market Strategy launched some weeks ago. The first pillar includes many actions to make cross-border e-commerce easier in the European Union. The cornerstone to establish the need to develop these actions is the "fact" that "only 15% of EU consumers shop online from another EU country". If we analyse the origin of this fact we will discover that is based in asking to the public directly the question if the buy online in webs from other EU countries. In my opinion, it is quite difficult that the average European could have all the needed elements to answer correctly this question. Probably, more evidences are needed to decide which actions are needed if any is needed at all,

A second example is the whole process of the adoption of the "Connected Continent" packet. This packet was proposed by the European Commission in september 2013 and its legislative element include actions in many areas in order to achieve a Telecom Single Market in the EU: Spectrum management, consumer rights, net neutrality, roaming, institutional regulatory framework, licenses, wholesale products, ... It looks that only actions for the progressive elimination of roaming charges and to ensure net neutrality will survive in the final legislation. If we assume that the initial impact assessment done by the European Commission was correct, it is difficult to accept that after scraping so many elements from the initial proposal that the impact assessment is still valid. Therefore the more logical action would be discard completely the proposed regulation unless a new impact assessment proves the amended version is still positive.

Many examples could be found in other EU digital policy initiatives which its initial concept were changed. So the case for better regulation in digital policies is stated, the question is if introducing it would not slow more the legislative process. However, the rapid evolution of technology could question if better regulation principles are applicable to the digital policies. Perhaps we need and impact assessment on the matter.

1 comentario:

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