IRRC 2013

Clarifying Gold Plating: Mitigating Barriers to Trade in the Single Market

The English term ‘to gold-plate’ is used to describe when national implementation of EU legislation exceeds what a legal act requires. Such implementation strategies are authorised under EU law but can cause unnecessary regulatory costs for business and impact negatively on trade and EU competitiveness.

IRRC 2013: Clarifying gold plating

IRRC 2013: Clarifying gold plating


Gold-plating is frequently discussed but it remains unclear to what specifically the term refers. NNR and the Swedish Better Regulation Council have jointly put forward proposals to the Swedish Government on how to clarify what ‘gold-plating’ means and its impacts. However, strategies for mitigating negative effects of gold-plating must be agreed by all single market states. The workshop will address issues such as:
• The possibility to agree on a common European definition of gold-plating.
• Tools that can be used for clarifying decisions to gold-plate.
• How to take account of implementation aspects when drafting new legislation.
The workshop will also highlight a case-study of an EU Directive that has been implemented differently in different states.

IRRC 2013 - Clarifying gold plating

IRRC 2013 - Clarifying gold plating

Foto: Mathias Weitbrecht

Christina Fors
Christina Fors, Director at Regelrådet, the Swedish Better Regulation Council since 2008.

She holds a Masters degree of Science and Business Administration from Uppsala University, with a major in National Economics. She has long experience in the field of better regulation and impact assessments as well as entrepreneurship.

Before her current position, she was project manager at the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.

Jens Hedström
Jens Hedström is President of the Board of Swedish Industry and Commerce for Better Regulation (NNR). He took up this position in 2006. NNR is an independent, non-party political organisation with a membership of 14 Swedish business organisations and trade associations. NNR works to minimise the amount of information that business has to report to government and for a more business-friendly regulatory environment in Sweden and the EU. In his role, Mr Hedström is responsible for co-ordinating the Swedish business community’s activities on better regulation. Mr Hedström also chairs the BUSINESSEUROPE Better Regulation Working Group and the BIAC Governance Committee at OECD. Furthermore his is member of the board in Swedish Companies Registration Office and Statistics Sweden.
He started his career as an Advisoron SME issues, entrepreneurship, deregulation, public procurement and international affairs and in 2001 became Director of SME and trade policy at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
Mr Hedström holds a Master of Law degree from Uppsala University.

Sigrid Verweij
Sigrid Verweij is currently manager of the policy team regulation of the Dutch entrepreneurs and employers federations VNO-NCW and SME-Netherlands. She is also the policy coordinator for SME Netherlands. Prior to that she was the policy advisor for VNO-NCW on Better Regulation and Enforcement (until 2011), advisor on environmental affairs (until 2008), all at VNO-NCW The Hague and advisor European Affairs at the Brussels Office of VNO-NCW. Sigrid Verweij studied public administration at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

In 1992 the ambitious “Agenda Europe ‘92” was put in place to remove obstacles on the internal market. Twenty years later, the European internal market is a fact in part, but companies still experience problems in their day-to-day business practice. A missed opportunity, because one single market fosters entrepreneurship, consumer choice and attracts foreign investors and trade partners. Only through growth, will Europe be able to conquer the current financial and economic crisis.
A large part of the problem originates from great differences in implementation of EU regulation at national level: gold-plating. Gold-plating is a much discussed topic, but we lack a concrete definition and therefore solutions. Questions that will be addressed in the workshop therefore are: Would it be possible to agree on a common European definition of gold-plating? What tools can be used for clarifying and explaining decisions to gold-plate, nationally and at EU level? What is the role of member states and of the Commission?

Elizabeth Golberg
Elizabeth Golberg is Director of Smart Regulation in the European Commission‘s Secretariat General. Her professional career in the European Commission began in 1993 as a coordinator for the Phare Programme in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. She held various posts in the European Commission‘s External Relations and Environment Departments before being appointed as Head of Unit for Strategic Planning and Evaluation in the Directorate General of Environment in 2004. She moved in 2005 to the post of Advisor to the Secretary General and thereafter as Head of Unit for two posts in the Secretariat General dealing with external institutional relations and briefing coordination, respectively.
Elizabeth Golberg has a Bachelor of Arts and Science from the University of Lethbridge, Canada and a Post-graduate Diploma in International Economics from the Graduate Institute of International Studies, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

The economic and financial crisis has accentuated the need for good regulation and starkly revealed how unnecessary regulation can weigh heavily on citizens and business. While EU legislation is necessary to attain important public policy goals, attention must be paid to its costs as well as benefits and any unnecessary regulatory burdens must be removed.
The European Commission is committed to eliminating unnecessary burdens stemming from EU legislation and has to work hand in hand with both the legislator and Member States to achieve this goal. It is critically important that these efforts are not derailed by ‚gold-plating‘ - going unnecessarily beyond what is required by EU legislation - by Member States when they transpose directives into national legislation.
It is important that the flexibility inherent in the use of directives be maintained. At the same time, the European Commission can support Member States in their efforts to reduce gold-plating.

Edoardo Binda Zane
Edoardo Binda Zane is an experienced professional in the fields of renewable energy and energy policy. Within the Policy Consulting Unit of eclareon he focuses on the analysis of administrative and non-administrative barriers to the integration of renewable electricity in the grid. Relevant projects carried out with eclareon include PV GRID, RES INTEGRATION and the RES-LEGAL Europe database. Prior to eclareon, he spent two years as a consultant in a Dutch firm and one year in an energy research centre in Milan. He holds a Higher Formation Course in Energy Finance and Commodity Trading (Politecnico di Milano School of Management) as well as a BSc and a MSc in Economics and Management (Università Bocconi, Milan). His thesis on energy scenarios for Italy to 2020, was awarded the G.S.E. Prize by the Italian Quality Committee, the Italian Electricity Services Operator and the Presidency of the Republic. He is fluent in English, Italian and Spanish and speaks German and Dutch.

The presentation will start with a brief introduction to the RES Directive (2009/28/EC), outlining its main goal and role, specifically a reference will be made to article 13, dealing with administrative procedures for energy plants and networks. Following this, the the PV LEGAL / PV GRID project will be presented, pointing out its aims and purpose, that is to analyse and contribute to the removal of administrative barriers that hamper the deployment of photovoltaic installations in 16 EU Member States. The results show differences in terms of administrative costs, labour, waiting time and the share of administrative vs. non-administrative costs. This will provide a quite comprehensive overview of the differences that are still exist between Member States in terms of administrative procedures for the same sector, though a common European Directive exists for all Member States on this topic.

Julian Farrel
Julian Farrel is Deputy Director of the Better Regulation Executive, and Head of the EU and International Team, in the UK‘s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He has worked on a range of domestic and EU better regulation issues within the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department for Business, and the UK Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels, since the UK Government’s first administrative burdens exercise in the early 1980s. He is a member of the European Commission’s High Level Group of National Regulatory Experts and the network of EU Directors and Experts on Better Regulation.

The UK Government committed in May 2010 to end the gold-plating of EU rules, and published its ‘Guiding Principles for EU Legislation’ in December 2010. We have defined gold-plating as when implementation goes beyond the minimum necessary to comply with a Directive – for example by: extending the scope; not taking full advantage of any derogations; retaining higher pre-existing UK standards; or implementing early, before the date given in the Directive. A recent internal review has concluded that, following the introduction of the Guiding Principles, there is now little evidence that UK Government Departments are gold-plating when transposing EU law. Meanwhile, we continue to seek to identify and remove any previous gold-plating, through the scrutiny of the stock of existing regulation which affects business under the ‘Red Tape Challenge’.

This workshop has been realized in cooperation with:

NNR - The Board of Swedish Industry and Commerce for Better Regulation / Regelrådet - Swedish Better Regulation Council

NNR - The Board of Swedish Industry and Commerce for Better Regulation

Foto: Regelrådet - Swedish Better Regulation Council

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