Food Law News - EU - 1999

28 April 1999: LEGISLATION - Commission adopts report on simplification of agricultural legislation

Brussels, 28 April 1999

Commission adopts report on simplification of agricultural legislation

The European Commission has adopted a report detailing the progress of concrete initiatives taken to simplify the European Union (EU) agricultural legislation, which is often criticised for being too complex. By simplifying existing legislation the Commission aims to achieve two distinct goals. Firstly, to reduce the administrative workload which the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) imposes on farmers and administrative authorities. Secondly, to make agricultural legislation as clear, transparent and easily accessible as possible. In order to render agricultural legislation more transparent and more easily accessible, the Commission has launched a project to produce informal consolidations of agricultural legislation in all EU official languages which can be consulted by Internet (1). These acts will be continuously up-dated and will also be available to the general public and to national administrations via Internet. Although the informal consolidated texts are not legally binding, they will substantially facilitate the quest for relevant rules by all those concerned by the CAP, for example farmers' unions, national administrations, trade and industry, controllers, consumer organisations and universities.

Commenting on the report, Mr Franz FISCHLER, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that "simplification of EU legislation is crucial in the interest of transparency and of bringing the EU closer to the EU citizen. It is also important for farmers, the agricultural industry and national administrations who have to respect and/or manage the CAP. The more complex the rules are, the more difficult and costly - in terms of administrative and human resources - will they be to implement, to manage and to control. This is particularly important for the CAP since it represents half of the EU Budget and about 60% of the total EU legislation," he said. "This is why this Commission, already when it took office in 1995, started to work on simplification of the CAP. Over the past few years the Commission has undertaken a number of important and concrete initiatives in order to simplify agricultural legislation. The report, which the Commission has adopted today, gives the state of play of the work carried out up to now", he added.

Reducing the agricultural administrative burden

Initiatives taken by the Commission to reduce the administrative burden of the CAP are threefold:

Increasing the transparency and accessibility of agricultural legislation

Similarly, three initiatives have been launched by the Commission in an effort to make agricultural legislation more transparent and accessible:

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