OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2015

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Regulations are the rules that govern the everyday life of businesses and citizens. They are an essential instrument in the hands of government to promote economic growth, social welfare and environmental protection. However, regulations can also be costly and ineffective in achieving their objectives. The Regulatory Policy Outlook is the first evidence-based analysis of the progress made by countries to improve the way they regulate. Based on a unique survey filled by all OECD countries and the European Commission, the Outlook assesses progress in establishing the conditions for good regulation. It provides unique insights into the organisation and institutional settings in countries to design, enforce and revise regulations. It uncovers the areas of the regulatory cycle that receive too limited attention from policy makers, and identifies actors who have an important part to play to improve the way regulations are developed, implemented and evaluated. It reviews the use of three critical tools of regulatory policy (Regulatory Impact Assessment, stakeholder engagement and ex post evaluation) and proposes options to use them in a more strategic manner to inform the development and delivery of regulations.

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Belgium has made progress towards strengthening policies and institutions aimed at improving regulation at the federal level. Formal consultations are often conducted with social partners, and the RIA, which is mandatory for all primary and subordinate legislation submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers at the federal level, is usually shared with social partners as a basis for consultation. Parliament and social partners have welcomed the RIA as a useful tool to facilitate policy coherence. Periodic ex post review of legislation is mandatory for some legislation and sun-setting clauses are sometimes used. In 2013 and 2014, a comprehensive review of economic legislation led to the development of a new code of economic law. Ex post review of legislation is facilitated through a parliamentary committee that can initiate reviews also at the request of citizens. Within the executive, since 2013 the Agency for Administrative Simplification (ASA) within the Prime Minister’s Office, which was responsible for assessing administrative burdens, is also responsible for the whole better regulation policy. The ASA co-ordinates the RIA in partnership with four other ministries (economy, equality of women and men, sustainable development and development co-operation). An Impact Assessment Committee can provide advice on the RIA at the request of the responsible ministry.

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