HC Deb 30 July 1998 vol 317 cc539-40W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the section "Reforming Regulation" in his Department's document "UK Presidency of the EU Half Way Mark", if he will place in the Library the progress report; and if he will make a statement on the proposals agreed at Cardiff. [53781]

Dr. John Cunningham

I have been asked to reply as Cabinet Minister with responsibility for better EU regulation.

The European Commission's report "Legislate less to act better: the facts" (COM(98)345) was presented to the European Council at Cardiff on 15 June 1998.

The report and an accompanying Explanatory Memorandum (9319/98) were submitted to Parliament by the Cabinet Office on Friday, 26 June 1998.

I am delighted that better regulation featured prominently in the Cardiff European Council's conclusions. This shows the degree to which the UK has successfully taken the debate forward during its Presidency. Specifically, the European Council: highlighted the importance of better regulation and subsidiarity, calling on the EU institutions and the Member States to work together to observe these principles; asked the Commission to co-ordinate the sharing of best regulatory practice between Member States; invited the Commission to press ahead with its Simpler Legislation for the Internal Market (SLIM) initiative to simplify and improve Single Market rules; welcomed the Commission's establishment of a pilot test panel of businesses to improve consultation on new regulatory proposals; encouraged the Commission to develop its business impact assessment system (fiche d'impact); and invited the Commission to draw up a timetable for action, in the light of the recommendations in the report of the Business Environment Simplification Task Force (BEST)—also presented to the Cardiff European Council—to assess the extent to which current EU and Member States' policies encourage entrepreneurship.

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