Fit for Future Platform: Better EU law thanks to the assessment of local and regional authorities

Fit for Future Platform: Better EU law thanks to the assessment of local and regional authorities

On 10 December the members of the European Commission’s Fit for Future (F4F) Platform adopted eight opinions that aim at simplifying EU laws, and reducing unnecessary costs. Since local and regional authorities are implementing 70% of EU legislation, it is of great importance to have feedback from local and regional representatives in the F4F platform. The European Committee of the Regions’ (CoR) was represented by its members Mark Speich (DE/EPP), Anne Karjalainen (FI/PES) and Ulrika Landergren (SE/RE), who presented opinions respectively on public procurement, environmental reporting and patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare. 

The F4F platform is the main instrument of theBetter regulation agenda of the European Commission. It represents an important vehicle to adapt European legislation to the realities of regions and cites in Europe. The opinions adopted during the third plenary meeting will be taken into account by the European Commission to ensure that EU laws help and not hinder people and businesses. The opinions presented by the three CoR members Mark Speich, Anne Karjalainen and Ulrika Landergren put forward in particular the ideas and comments from local and regional authorities and their stakeholders, on the implementation of EU legislation.

The opinion on eProcurement was delivered by rapporteur Mark Speich (DE/EPP) , Chair of the CoR’s commission on Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEXand Secretary of State for Federal, European and International Affairs for the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia. After the adoption of this opinion Mr. Speich stated: “ The reforms of recent years have obviously not brought the hoped-for breakthrough in reducing bureaucracy. The electronic procurement, which was supposed to contribute to simplification, has created new problems and poses too great challenges, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and contracting authorities. From the perspective of Europe’s regions and cities, there is still considerable potential for improvement here. The opinion contains a number of concrete proposals in this regard. We will now have to make sure that as a consequence the relevant draft legislation will actually be introduced.”

Regional and local authorities can benefit from digital public procurement, but the CoR demands significant improvements to the process are necessary – administrative, technical and in terms of know-how. The input which was provided to the European Commission with the opinion on eProcurement is seen as a first step, be followed by regular request updates on the follow-up actions to the Platform’s proposals in 2022.

For the opinion on the INSPIRE Directive, rapporteur Anne Karjalainen (FI/PES) , Chair of the CoR commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) and Kerava City Councillor and, underlined: ” For European rules to continue to INSPIRE and be effective, there is an urgent need for rational simplification and streamlining. European environmental reporting and geospatial data are of crucial importance; therefore, the framework in which they are delivered should be fit for the future and build on lessons learnt from all levels of government, as well as public and private actors. 

The CoR’s Fit4Future INSPIRE opinion pushes for a stronger European environmental reporting and spatial data infrastructure. INSPIRE has shown its benefits both inside and outside the environmental field, and while recognizing its successes, the CoR recommended some improvements. The key points of the opinion are that data specifications need to be simplified and less technology-bound, as well as that policy goals should be clarified. Also that European geospatial hub within the Commission could avoid future contradictions in legislation affecting geodata. Finally, the CoR demands more support at European and member State level for the training and knowledge-sharing among practitioners and experts.

The opinion on Patient rights in cross-border healthcare was presented by rapporteur Ulrika Landergren (SE/RE), Chairwoman of the CoR NAT commission for common Agriculture and Rural development, Forestry, Food Production, Public Health and Consumer Protection and Member of Kungsbacka Municipal Council in Sweden. She said -: “The goal of the Fit for Future Platform is to make EU laws simpler, less costly and future-proof. My report features eight concrete suggestions how to make it easier for European patients to understand their care options and access the best possible treatment and care. At home or abroad.”

Some of the recommendations of the opinion on Cross-border healthcare include safe, high-quality and efficient healthcare abroad as well as the importance of informed choices of patients. That concretely means to improve the visibility and readability of information provided to patients and health professionals; introduce a common format of European health electronic record; the set-up of working groups to design a cross-border healthcare bill and study the feasibility of tying the prior authorisation with direct payment; let the ambulances roam free on both sides of a border and hold regularly cross-border healthcare conferences with border regions.

The CoR is not only represented by three members in the high-level expert group but also feeds into to the opinions with evidence collected by its network of Regional Hubs (RegHub). The network is one of the sub-groups of the platform and gathers information from cities and regions through targeted consultations and compiles it into implementation reports of the selected EU policies.

Further opinions adopted:
– Computer reservation system
– European Fisheries Statistics
– Single permit directive
– Banking Union
– Union Customs Code

Background:

The Fit for Future Platform had its launch in November 2020 and has more than 50 members (incl. 27 MS). Its work programme follows the priorities of the Europe Commission 2022 annual work programme . It is a high-level expert group that help the European Commission in its efforts to simplify laws and to reduce related unnecessary administrative burden and costs. The European Commission will take into account the Platform’s opinions to ensure EU laws help, not hinder, people and business, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises. The work of the Platform focuses on topics highlighted in an annual work programme. For each topic, the Platform will gather data, evidence and input on potential for simplifying and reducing unnecessary costs of specific EU laws without undermining the achievement of their objectives. These efforts are part of Better regulation agenda of the European Commission.

The CoR network of Regional Hubs (RegHub) is a network of European regions and cities that evaluates the implementation of EU policies. The new generation of hubs consists of 46 dedicated ‘contact points’, 10 more than the first generation. The contact points are members of staff of a local or regional administration who collect technical feedback from stakeholders about their ‘on the ground’ implementation experience of existing EU policies. The network thus adds the local and regional perspective to EU policymaking and enlarges its evidence base. 

Source: Fit for Future Platform: Better EU law thanks to the assessment of local and regional authorities (europa.eu)

Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/nl/photos/dsgvo-privacybeleid-europa-3669706/

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