Umbrella associations of Germany’s social insurance system take part in Commission’s consultation.

KB/SW – 11/2018

In a public consultation on its ‘better regulation’ approach, in which the German Social Insurance also participated, the Commission wanted to assess how well the better regulation tools it uses work in practice to achieve the objectives of its Better Regulation Agenda and how the role of subsidiarity and proportionality in policy-making can be strengthened.

In comments made by the umbrella associations of Germany’s social insurance system, they call for timely consultation phases to ensure that participation by the public and other stakeholders is well-informed and well-founded. It should also be possible to easily submit queries related to the consultation questions and content, without red tape and in consultation with the relevant services. When preparing the content of the consultation questionnaires, care should be taken to ensure that the way questions are asked allows for different answers and an individual assessment of different aspects.

In terms of subsidiarity and proportionality, it was pointed out that a thorough analysis and detailed presentation of the results would help to make the relevant evaluation processes more transparent. Furthermore, the umbrella associations of Germany’s social insurance system advocated that aspects of social and health policy should be taken into account when presenting new legislation.

The complete consultation submission is available here (in German language only).

Grid to assess subsidiarity

At the same time as the public consultation in October 2018, the Commission released its Communication on ‘The principles of subsidiarity and proportionality: Strengthening their role in the EU’s policymaking’. According to the Communication, the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are core elements of better regulation.

The Communication refers to the report of the Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and ‘Doing Less More Efficiently’ and includes nine recommendations from the Task Force in Annex I. The Task Force, chaired by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission, was composed of members from the Committee of the Regions and National Parliaments and looked at all areas of EU policy. In July 2018, it submitted its final report to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The Commission accepted the Task Force’s proposal to include a grid (see Annex II of the Communication) to assess subsidiarity and proportionality in its Better Regulation Guidelines and to use this to present the results of its impact assessments, evaluations and justifications. It also wants to use the grid in its communication with national parliaments.

It should also be easier for National Parliaments to meet deadlines for submitting opinions on proposals. The Task Force recommended that the Commission should flexibly apply the Treaty-based deadline of eight weeks for national parliaments to submit reasoned opinions. This flexibility should take into account normal holiday periods and recess periods, and allow the Commission, as far as possible, to respond within eight weeks of receiving an opinion.


According to the Better Regulation Agenda, decision-making in the EU should be transparent, open and responsive to the needs and interests of society and businesses. The agenda covers all EU policy areas. Targeted regulation should only take place where necessary, and at minimum cost and administrative burden. The agenda is based on three pillars:

  • Involvement of stakeholders throughout the entire policy cycle.
  • Assessments to ensure that current EU laws are fit for purpose.
  • Impact assessments that ensure new proposals achieve their policy objectives as efficiently as possible, without any unnecessary burdens.

The ultimate aim of better regulation and the simplification of laws is to boost competitiveness, growth and jobs in the EU and give citizens and stakeholders more of a voice.

Next steps

The conclusions of the Commission’s current review of the Better Regulation Agenda are expected in the first half of 2019.