In October, the European Commission adopted its annual work programme setting out the list of the most important actions it will take in the year ahead.. Read our comments on the program from a business perspective below.
What does the European Commission’s Work Programme mean in general terms for Swedish businesses and our work with the EU?
The overall aim of the Work Programme is positive, as the clear message is that 2024 will be a year of EU regulatory simplification. In recent months, there has been a much-needed acceptance within the machinery of the EU about the dangers ever-increasing regulatory burdens create for the economy and competitiveness.
Twenty-six concrete regulatory simplification proposals are included in the next Work Programme, and a further 16 legal acts are to be reviewed with a view to simplifying them. Hopefully, this is a sign of a paradigm shift in the EU, in which aspects of competitiveness are given far greater weight and that the focus on the business climate will lead to substantive improvements for businesses.
The Programme contains no surprises on the environment – all green proposals have already been announced in Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech, i.e., the European Wind Power Action Plan, a new initiative aimed at improving water resilience, and proposals for climate targets for 2040.
However, the draft contains no mention of an industrial carbon management strategy that the European Commission had originally promised to present before the end of this year, and then postponed to the first quarter of next year. In addition, several transport-related initiatives are missing, such as multimodal digital mobility services and the revised REACH regulation, which the next Commission will now have to deal with.
What would you say Swedish companies should really keep an eye on in 2024?
Next year will see only limited amounts of new legislation. Instead, the Commission is set to focus on implementing already announced regulatory simplifications and collect concrete proposals from business about unnecessarily complicated regulations that can be simplified in the future. In addition, a large amount of existing legislation must now begin to be implemented and followed up.
It is important that businesses report any teething troubles or unreasonable negative effects of legislation, so that these can be used to inform work on rule simplification. We must harness the momentum that exists on rule simplification because sooner or later there will be another crisis that will draw attention to something else. I hope that many businesses will help us to ensure that the next term will be less regulatory-driven and more growth-focused. We therefore need concrete examples of what inhibits companies’ development and ideas about what is needed at EU level to strengthen businesses and make investment more attractive.EU