HC Deb 28 November 2001 vol 375 cc902-3W
Jim Knight

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress has been made by the Mandelkern Group on better regulation since the last report to this House in March. [19697]

Mr. Leslie

The Mandelkern Group has met five times since March 2001 and at its last meeting on 12–13 November adopted its Final Report. This report was presented by the group's chairman, M. Dieudonn6 Mandelkern, to the Internal Market, Consumer and Tourism Council on 26 November and has been sent to the Presidents of the European Commission, European Parliament and Council of Ministers. I have placed a copy of the report in the Library of the House.

The report represents a significant achievement. For the first time, representatives of all fifteen member states have signed up to a document setting out in detail the actions that need to be undertaken in order to improve Europe's regulatory environment. It contains a number of concrete, practical recommendations and an Action Plan with realistic timings. In particular, the Action Plan asks the Commission to:

  • Establish a new, comprehensive impact assessment system, covering all Commission regulatory proposals, by June 2002;
  • Establish a central web-based consultation register for all EU consultations by June 2002;
  • Adopt a standard minimum 16-week consultation period from March 2002;
  • Spearhead a 40 per cent. reduction in the volume of Community acts by June 2004, arising from concerted codification of European legislation by the institutions;
  • Launch a new targeted simplification programme by June 2002 of existing European legislation in all areas; and
  • Create throughout the Commission a centrally supported, effective network for better regulation by June 2002.

The Government fully support the Mandelkern Group's report and will be working closely with other member states and the institutions of the EU to seek acceptance and timely implementation of its main recommendations.