Ex-ante impact assessment in surveyed parliaments

AuthorAnglmayer, Irmgard
EPRS | European Parli amentary Re search Servic e
2. Ex-ante impact assessme nt in sur veyed parliaments
Key finding s
Ex-ante impact assessment can make an important contribution to evidence-based policy-
mak ing, as it s purpose is to info rm law-making through evidence. At the same time, an impact
assessment increases the legitimacy of an initiat ive, since it just ifies a nd substantiates the
rationale for action, explores different options for the course of action, and it provides reflection
on wh o will be af fected an d in what way. All EU Member States perform impact assessment to
unde rpin t heir le gislat ive init iatives, alb eit to varyin g degree s and with great differences in f ocus
(e.g. simplification and burden reduction; cost-benefit o nly; integrated impact ass essment etc.)
International indices suggest that many EU countr ies have not y et reached their full potential
with regard t o ex-ante impact assessment (in particular: OECD, Better Regulation practices across
the EU; Bertelsmann Stiftung, Sustainable Governance Indicators 2019).
Some parliaments acro ss the EU have s tepped up t heir efforts to s crutinise their respective
governm ent’s impact assessment work in recent years, when deliberating at committee stage on
legislative propo sals prepared by the government. A few parliaments have taken this furt her and
also embedded impact asses sment work into their legislative function. In this respect, they
conduct their own impact assessments, either related to legislative initiatives tabled by
parliament o r amendments, or, in a few cases, related t o government init iatives, t o inform the
legislative process in the sens e of evidence-based policy-making. Therefore, parliamentary
impact ass essment touches upon th e two core powers of parliam ents: scrutiny and legislation.
Out of the 38 surveyed parli aments, 16 (15 EU-27 parli aments and 1 third-country
parliamen t) engag e in some f orm of ex-ante impact assess ment work, albeit in ver y different
ways and to greatly varying extent.
Out of these 16 parl iaments, 8 actively conduct their o wn impact assessm ents. These ar e:
7 EU-27 parliaments : Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Poland and
and 1 third-country parliament: Canada (budget estimates of proposals).
In addition, seven further parliaments carry out smaller-scale impact assessment work, e.g. in-
depth scrutiny of government impact assessment (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania,
Portugal and Spain). Finally, the Latvian Parliament avails of impact assessment capacities, but
has not yet tested them.
A total of 12 parli aments across the EU-27 and 10 of the surveyed third-country parli aments
indicat ed they do not engage in any specif ic ex-ante impact assessm ent w or k bey ond
classical parliamentary scrutiny of the impact assessments accompanying government
Bette r Regulation prac tices in natio nal parliaments
2.1. Level of engagement in parliamentary impact assessment
Table 1 – EU-27 par liaments and the Europ ean Parliame nt: level of engagement in ex-ante
no IA work
beyond classical
commi ttee
sc ru ti ny
smaller-scale IA
work (e.g. i n-
depth scrutiny)
parliaments' own
IA work
Aust ria
Belgi um
Croat ia
Czec hia
Denmar k
Estoni a
Ger many
Ital y
Malt a
Nether lands
Polan d
Port ugal
Romani a
Slovak ia
Slove ni a
Europe an Parl iame nt

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