The Development of Regulatory Impact Analysis in Europe
The article analyzes recent developments in regulatory impact analysis (RIA) by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and European Union (EU) and relates them to the discussions on development of RIA in Estonia.
RIA is an integrated decision tool, a method of i) systematically and consistently examining selected potential impacts arising from government action and of ii) communicating the information to decision-makers (OECD 1997a, 214). In the past, OECD has mostly used checklists and best practices to promote RIA. Recent trends, however, indicate that due to its shortcomings, the best practice approach has been replaced by more detailed mapping of country practices, development of regulatory indicators and using more ex post facto RIA. The author suggests that Estonia as a newcomer in RIA does not automatically have to neglect the idea of using checklists and best practices but its challenge lies in combining the two with the experiences of other countries and with the Estonian administrative system and culture.
EU has implemented impact analyses since the 1980s. After the Maastricht Treaty and Lisbon Council in 2000, the work on better regulation intensified. The Mandelkern report with its recommendations marks an important milestone in the development of RIA in the EU institutions as well as member states. Based on these changes, EU member states are continuing cooperation on better regulation within the meetings of ministers responsible for public administration during every presidency. The main focus is on strengthening the institutional structures of RIA, comparison of the methodologies used and development of the indicators of regulatory quality. The article analyzes these developments as well as the recommendations of the Mandelkern report by focusing on the challenges and possibilities of Estonia.