21.12.2012 klo 10:48

Which are the TOP10 most burdensome EU legislative acts for SMEs?

On the Behalf of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, please find the following reactions to the consultation on TOP 10 legislative burdens:

Before answering the Commission’s questionnaire the Federation of Finnish Enterprises would like to make some important general remarks about the consultation.

We welcome the effort the Commission is putting into cutting administrative and other regulatory burdens to the minimum. We acknowledge the results already achieved and share the Commission’s view that more has to be done.

The questionnaire has an ambitious objective. It should aid the Commission to identify those areas of law and those pieces of legislation that should be more deeply looked into and revised. We welcome this approach as such.

However, the structure of the consultation leaves the feedback that we can give – and that we have received – very shallow by definition. This is not an exercise that could be seriously executed by a tick-a-box method. We experienced that the entrepreneurs and experts who answered the questionnaire had enormous trouble defining what areas of law and what pieces of legislation to name.

The explanation behind the difficulties is that the legal environment is utterly complex. Small enterprises or their representatives are not capable of assessing the administrative – or broader regulatory – burdens of the regulation in the way the structure of this consultation demands. For example several obligations that were asked in the questionnaire are carried out by using services of accountants and other external service providers.

Another reason why assessing the questions and options was very difficult is that proper answers require deep expertise of the system as a whole and each individual piece of the law. The chain from EU-law into national law and further into practical obligation at the grass root level is long. To reverse-engineer e.g. information obligations backwards to areas of EU-law or individual pieces of EU-law is not easy. The challenges multiply when those areas and pieces of law should be assessed against one another.

After these explanations and disclaimers we present our feedback to the consultation. We chose to send out the questionnaire to our Board members, to our sectorial and regional member associations’ secretary generals and presidents and to our committees’ members. We received altogether some 50 answers. The following two lists have been directly compiled of those answers. The logic of the lists is simple: they are top 10 lists of both parts of the questionnaire.

The TOP 10 list on the most burdensome areas of legislation:

– Public procurement
– Organisation of working time
– Recognition of professional qualifications
– Transport of goods
– Energy efficiency
– Direct taxes
– Classification of goods
– Demonstrating conformity in the absence of a harmonized standard
– Safe shopping

The TOP 10 list on the most burdensome pieces of legislation:

– Working time directive
– Common system of value added tax
– Recognition of professional qualifications
– Procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts
– Temporary agency work
– Recording equipment in rod transport for driving and rest periods
– Refund of value added tax to taxable persons not established in the member state of refund but established in another member state
– Social legislation relating to road transport
– Statistics relating to the trading of goods between member states

Federation of Finnish Enterprises

Mr. Antti Neimala
Representative to the European Union