The OECD Review of Better Regulation in Greece is one of a series of country reports launched by the OECD in partnership with the European Commission. The objective is to assess regulatory management capacities in the 15 original member states of the European Union (EU), including trends in their development, and to identify gaps in relation to good practice as defined by the OECD and the EU in their guidelines and policies for Better Regulation.
Abbreviations and acronyms
Country profile – Greece
A myriad of factors – economic, social, cultural and political – have led to the current economic crisis in Greece. As such, a range of responses – in terms of new policies, new ways of delivering or implementing them, new ways of thinking and new ways of working – must be employed if Greece is to successfully revitalise its economy and chart a sustainable path to restore market confidence and economic growth. The primary focus to date has been in addressing the most immediate economic issues so as to target deficit levels and to meet conditional requirements set out by the troika in order to secure bailout funds. Addressing spending and expenditure issues alone will not in and of itself provide a solution for Greece. The challenge now for Greece lies in ensuring that both implementation of these issues as well as complementary reform areas are advanced and appropriately implemented without delay.
Introduction: Conduct of the review
The current review of Greece reflects contributions from the Greek government and discussions at meetings held in Athens in December 2010 and May 2011 by the OECD Secretariat with Greek officials and external stakeholders. Major initiatives and developments since this mission are referenced in the report, but have not been evaluated.
Strategy and policies for Better Regulation
Regulatory policy may be defined broadly as an explicit, dynamic, and consistent "whole-of-government" policy to pursue high quality regulation. Experience across the OECD suggests that an effective regulatory policy should be adopted at the highest political levels, contain explicit and measurable regulatory quality standards, and provide for continued regulatory management capacity.
Institutional capacities for Better Regulation
Regulatory management needs to find its place in a country’s institutional architecture and have support from all the relevant institutions. The institutional framework within which Better Regulation must exert influence extends well beyond the executive centre of government, although this is the main starting point. The legislature and the judiciary, regulatory agencies and the sub-national levels of government, as well as international structures (notably, for this project, the EU), also play critical roles in the development, implementation and enforcement of policies and regulations. The OECD previous country reviews highlight the fact that the institutional context for implanting effective regulatory management is complex and often highly fragmented.
Transparency through consultation and communication
Transparency is one of the central pillars of effective regulation, supporting accountability, sustaining confidence in the legal environment, making regulations more secure and accessible, less influenced by special interests, and therefore more open to competition, trade and investment. It involves a range of actions including standardised procedures for making and changing regulations, consultation with stakeholders, effective communication and publication of regulations and plain language drafting, codification, controls on administrative discretion, and effective appeals processes. It can involve a mix of formal and informal processes. Techniques such as common commencement dates (CCDs) can make it easier for business to digest regulatory requirements. The contribution of e-Government to improve transparency, consultation and communication is of growing importance.
The development of new regulations
Predictable and systematic procedures for making regulations improve the transparency of the regulatory system and the quality of decisions. These include forward planning (the periodic listing of forthcoming regulations), administrative procedures for the management of rulemaking, and procedures to secure the legal quality of new regulations (including training and guidance for legal drafting, plain language drafting, and oversight by expert bodies).
The management and rationalisation of existing regulations
The large stock of regulations and administrative formalities accumulated over time needs regular review and updating to remove obsolete or inefficient material. Approaches vary from consolidation, codification, recasting, repeal, ad hoc reviews of the regulations covering specific sectors, and sunsetting mechanisms for the automatic review or cancellation of regulations past a certain date.
Compliance, enforcement, appeals
Effective implementation, compliance and enforcement are essential for actually meeting regulatory objectives. An ex ante assessment of compliance and enforcement prospects is increasingly a part of the regulatory process in OECD countries. Within the EU's institutional context these processes include the correct transposition of EU rules into national legislation.
The interface between member states and the European Union
An increasing proportion of national regulations originate at EU level. Whilst EU regulations have direct application in member states and do not have to be transposed into national regulations, EU directives need to be transposed, raising the issue of how to ensure that the regulations implementing EU legislation are fully coherent with the underlying policy objectives, do not create new barriers to the smooth functioning of the EU Single Market and avoid "gold plating" and the placing of unnecessary burdens on business and citizens. Transposition also needs to be timely, to minimise the risk of uncertainty as regards the state of the law, especially for business.
The interface between sub-national and national levels of government
Multilevel regulatory governance is another core element of effective regulatory management. It is relevant to all countries that are seeking to improve their regulatory management, whether they are federations, unitary states or somewhere in between.
Division of main regulatory powers across levels of government in Greece
Text of the Draft Bill on Better Regulation (as tabled before Parliament December 2011)
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