July 12, 2017
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To many, the European Union (EU) is a complex entity overburdened by rules. In The European Union Could Be Simple, Inclusive, or Effective. Pick Two., author Dimiter Toshkov, an associate professor at the Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University, presents the structural dilemma facing the EU: accommodating the diverse interests of twenty-eight member states while delivering effective policies for over 510 million citizens in a simple way.

 

As part of the Atlantic Council’s “EuroGrowth Initiative,” the policy paper examines why the Union’s system of government is so complex and how said complexity affects the effectiveness and ability of the EU to solve common problems. Only citizens who understand how the EU works will trust it to deliver policies that can support economic growth across the continent and respond to global challenges. 

The European Commission included regulatory simplification as one of its ten priorities for the current term, launching the “Better Regulation” program. Dimiter Toshkov examines the program’s progress, as well as other options to achieve simplification, such as informal agreements between different EU bodies and more radical action through treaty reform.

Key Recommendations
- The EU should focus on adopting fewer legislative acts, instead prioritizing those that have clear and tangible value for Europeans, have less discretion to the member states, and are enforced more consistently across member states.
- The EU should aim to simplify the message it projects about its own identity, be more clear about the fundamental values for which it stands, and be more consistent in the promotion of these values with its policies and actions.
- The EU should be more transparent about the way EU policies are made and enforced.
- All EU citizens, and particularly young people, should have the opportunity over the course of their education to learn basic facts about how the EU works.
- The EU should focus on adopting fewer legislative acts, instead prioritizing those that have clear and tangible value for Europeans, leave less discretion to the member states, and are enforced more consistently across member states.

This publication is part of the Atlantic Council’s EuroGrowth Initiative. The EuroGrowth Initiative is made possible by generous support from Beretta, the European Investment Bank, Moody’s Investor Service, Pirelli Tire North America, United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), Ambassador C. Boyden Gray, and Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat.

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