Bulgaria has continued to reform its regulatory management system as part of its Strategy for the Development of the State Administration 2014-2020. The strategy has led to important changes in Bulgaria’s legal framework for regulatory policy, putting evidence-based regulation-making in the focus. In 2019, the guidelines for regulatory impact assessment were updated to include guidance on cost-benefit-analysis and in 2020, guidelines for ex post evaluation were introduced to promote a uniform approach to ex ante and ex post evaluation within the administration. Previously, amendments to the Law on Normative Acts in 2016 had introduced a requirement to carry out impact assessments for all legislative acts introduced by the Council of Ministers and revised procedures for public consultation of draft regulations, extending the minimum consultation period to 30 days and introducing a requirement to publish draft legislation on the central consultation portal strategy.bg. Stakeholder engagement and public consultation is required for all primary laws and subordinate regulations and it is undertaken systematically once a legislative proposal has been drafted.

The Modernisation of the Administration Directorate of the Council of Ministers is responsible for regulatory oversight in Bulgaria. As part of its mandate, it scrutinises the quality of RIA and of stakeholder engagement in case a full RIA is required. It also issues guidance on regulatory management tools. The Directorate also prepares yearly reports on the performance of the RIA and stakeholder engagement systems for draft regulations, including data on the percentage of RIAs and consultations that comply with applicable formal requirements.

Indicators presented on stakeholder engagement and RIA for primary laws only cover processes carried out by the executive, which initiates approximately 47% of primary laws in Bulgaria. There are requirements to conduct RIA to inform the development of primary laws initiated by parliament, although they are relatively less stringent than those for laws made by the executive.

All new primary laws and subordinate regulations introduced by the executive must undergo a full RIA, which requires a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. While such a commitment to evidence-based policy making can be considered good practice, a more proportionate approach could help target valuable resources to the most impactful laws and regulations.

Since 2016, all new laws, codes and sub-statutory acts of the Council of Ministers are subject to ex post evaluation within five years of their respective commencement. Although ex post evaluations have been conducted with the support of external experts, they are limited in number and in scope, focussing only on administrative burdens for business. Assessing a wider range of impacts would help to ensure that regulations remain appropriate over time.

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