On 17 December, the newly formed European Commission, under Jean-Claude Juncker presented its work programme for 2015. The programme, which was approved by the college of Commissioners on Tuesday, drew negative attention of the European Parliament as it deviates strongly from the work programmes of the Barroso Commission.
Whereas Barroso produced an average of 130 new initiatives per annum, Junker only presented 23 new proposals. The opposite is true for the number of proposals up for withdrawal or modification. 80 proposals were flagged by Juncker and his First Vice-President, Frans Timmermans, whereas Barroso never exceeded 30 withdrawals. The withdrawal of certain environmental proposals in particular were met with scorn by many MEPs, arguing that the new Commission's approach is too radical and an attempt to appease right wing Eurosceptics. Frans Timmermans defended the approach by means of the principle of subsidiarity, arguing that ''just because an issue is important, doesn't mean that the EU has to act on itÃƒÂ¢€Ã‚Â.
ESBA Secretary-General Patrick Gibbels said: The European Small Business Alliance welcomes the new approach by the Juncker Commission, as it shows that the better regulation agenda is taken seriously. Rather than churning out endless lists of new regulations and directives, the Juncker Commission seems to focus more on getting things right first. The contrast between 23 new initiatives against 79 REFIT actions (the European Commission's Regulatory Fitness and Performance programme, aiming to make EU law simpler and to reduce regulatory costs) is a healthy one. It is the closest the EU has ever gotten to the UK's one-in-one out rule, whereby an obsolete piece of legislation must be removed before producing new legislation. ESBA supports the Commission's seemingly serious efforts towards better regulation and looks forward to contributing to this important agenda.