Skip to main content Skip to page footer

Better Regulation’ with ‘Make it Work’: An assessment of the Make it Work’s Drafting Principles on Compliance Assurance

Lorenzo Squintani

elni Review 2016, Issue 1, pp. 2-9.

The ‘better regulation’ agenda developed as a follow-up to the 2000 Lisbon Strategy. Especially after the 2002 ‘Better Law-Making’ Communication, the subsequent initiatives on ‘better’ and ‘smart’ regulation have added to simplification a fairly strong emphasis on reducing administrative burdens. In the context of EU law, environmental legislation is considered one of the sectors that is suitable for simplification and a reduction of administrative burdens. While mainly focusing on the European Environmental acquis, the Better Regulation programme has highlighted on several occasions that the lack of simplification and the presence of burdens may actually derive from national (environmental) law. 
Led by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany, a group of about 14 member states created the so-called Make it Work (MiW) Project. This project is a form of international cooperation between states, but, at the same time, it aims at influencing the functioning of the European Union. Indeed, this network of states “wants to open an ongoing debate on how the clarity, coherence and structure of EU environmental legislation can be improved, making it simpler for Member States to implement and easier for businesses and others to comply.” The MiW Project works on the basis of topics, which are discussed in meetings presided by civil servants at ministerial level with expertise on the subject matter of the discussion. The main output of these meetings is the drafting principles on making EU environmental legislation smarter, both generally and for specific policies, tools and procedures. 
Given the limited space available for this article, only a selection of drafting principles is discussed in this article. In order to provide a context to this selection, an overall description of the MiW Guiding Principles of Compliance Assurance is given.

Access full article


  1. P. Hampton, Reducing Administrative Burdens: Effective Inspection and Enforcement, HM Treasury, March 2005.
  2. W. Voermans, Objects trouvés, Adviscollege toetsing administrative lasten (Actal), in RegelMaat, (2001) 6, 24-228.
  3. R. Arendsen, Geen bericht, goed bericht, (PhD Thesis, Amsterdam 2008), 137.
  4. R. Haythornthwaite, Better Regulation in Europe, in Weatherill (2007), Better Regulation, SOIECL, 2007, pp. 19-26.
  5. L. Squintani, Gold-Plating of EU Environmental Law (PhD Thesis, Groningen 2013).
  6. European Commission, 2010, Communication from the Commission, Europe 2020. A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, COM(2010)2020 final.
  7. European Commission, 2002, Communication from the Commission, European Governance: Better lawmaking, COM(2002) 275 final.
  8. Mandelkern Group on Better Regulation, Final Report, 2001.
  9. Commission of the European Communities, 2001, European Governance. A White Paper, COM(2001) 428 final.
  10. Commission of the European Communites, 2005, Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs in the European Union, COM(2005) 97 final.
  11. European Commission, 2010, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Smart Regulation in the European Union, COM(2010) 543 final.
  12. European Commission, 2012, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, EU Regulatory Fitness, COM(2012) 746 final.
  13. European Commission, 2015, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Better regulation for better results, An EU agenda, COM(2015) 215 final.
  14. European Commission, 2015, Communication to the Commission, The REFIT Platform. Structure and Functioning, COM(2015) 3260 final.
  15. European Commission, 2015, Commission Decision of 19.5.2015 establishing the REFIT Platform, COM(2015) 3261 final.
  16. European Commission, 2015, Communication to the Commission, Regulatory Scrutiny Board. Mission, tasks and staff, COM(2015) 3262 final.
  17. European Commission, 2015, Decision of the President of the European Commission on the establishment of an independent Regulatory Scrutiny Board, COM(2015) 3263 final.
  18. European Commission, 2015, Commission Staff Working Document, Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT): State of Play and Outlook. Accompanying the document ‘Better Regulation for Better Results – An EU Agenda’, SWD(2015) 110 final.
  19. European Commission, 2015, Commission Staff Working Document, Better Regulation Guidelines, SWD(2015) 111 final.
  20. European Commission, 2015, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation, COM(2015) 216 final.
  21. P. Hjerp and others The Impact of Better Regulation on EU Environmental Policy under the Sixth Environment Action Programme (IEEP 2010).
  22. European Commission, 2005, European Commission Working document, Better Regulation and the Thematic Strategies for the Environment, COM(2005) 466 final.
  23. European Commission, 2012, Commission Staff Working Document, The Fitness Check of EU Freshwater Policy, SWD(2012) 393 final.
  24. European Commission, 2008, Commission Working Document, Second progress report on the strategy for simplifying the regulatory environment, COM(2008) 33 final.
  25. Commission of the European Communities, 2006, Commission Working Document, Measuring administrative costs and reducing administrative burdens in the European Union, COM(2006) 691 final.
  26. European Parliament, Resolution of 4 September 2007 on Better Regulation in the European Union, 2007/2095(INI).
  27. Council of the European Union, Press Release 2836th Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting, Brussels, 4 December 2007.
  28. MiW Strategy Note, July 2015.
  29. K.J. de Graaf & H. Tolsma, The Netherlands – Country Report, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law E Journal (2015)6, pp. 293-302.
  30. MiW, Towards a roadmap for future EU environmental regulation. Background paper for Expert Meeting, March 2014.
  31. Jan Teekens’s presentation for the Vereniging van Milieurecht hemamiddag: The EU Agenda for Environmental Law hold in Den Hagues on 25 June 2015.
  32. Decision No 768/2008/EC of 9 July 2008 on a common framework for the marketing of products, and repealing Council Decision 93/465/EEC, [2008] OJ L218/82.
  33. European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law, 2008, ‘Doing The Right Things II’ guidance document.
  34. L. Krämer, EC Environmental Law, 7th Edition (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2011).
  35. L. Krämer, The European Communities and environmental policy: the system of legislation, in P.C. Gilhuis and others (eds), Milieu als wetgevingsvraagstuk, (Zwolle: W.E.J. Tjeenk Willink 1991), pp. 79-88.
  36. B.A. Beijen, H.F.M.W. van Rijswick and H. Tegner Anker, The Importance of Monitoring for the Effectiveness of Environmental Directives. A Comparison of Monitoring Obligations in European Environmental Directives, 2014 (10)2 Utrecht Law Review, pp. 126-135.
  37. B.A. Beijen, The Implementation of European Environmental Directives: Are Problems Caused by the Quality of the Directives?, 2011 (20)4 European Energy and Environmental Law Review, pp. 150–163.
  38. Committee of the Regions, DRAFT OPINION – Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy EU environment law: improving reporting and compliance, ENVE-VI/008, 2016.
  39. European Commission, 2014, Living well, within the limits of our planet. 7th EAP – The new general Union Environment Action Programme to 2020.
  40. Commission of the European Communities, 2008, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on implementing European Community Environmental Law, COM(2008)773final.
  41. D. Zaelke, D. Kaniaru, and E. Kružíková (eds.), Making Law Work, (Volumes I and II) – Environmental Compliance & Sustainable Development, Chapter 2 – Compliance Theories, International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), 2005 pp. 53-62. DOI:
  42. OECD, Ensuring Environmental Compliance – TRENDS AND GOOD PRACTICES, May 2009, available at OECD Library.
  43. M.M. Stahl, Doing What’s Important: Setting Priorities for Environmental Compliance and Enforcment Programs, in L. Paddock and others (eds.), Compliance and Enforcement in Environmental Law – Toward More Effective Implementation, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Series (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar 2011), pp. 159-166. DOI:
  44. M.K. Sparrow, The Regulation Craft: Controlling Risk, Solving Problems, Managing Compliance, (Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution Press 2000).
  45. Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer, OJ 2009 L286/1.
  46. Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions, OJ 2010 L334/17.
  47. Directive 2012/18/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances, amending and subsequently repealing Council Directive 96/82/EC, OJ 2012 L197/1.
  48. C. Folke and others, Adaptive governance of social-ecological systems, (2005)30 Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour., pp. 441-473. DOI:
  49. L. Squintani and H.F.M.W.van Rijswick van Rijswick, Improving legal certainty and adaptability in the programmatic approach, in Journal of Environmental Law 2016, issue. DOI:
  50. Directive 2009/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the geological storage of carbon dioxide and amending Council Directive 85/337/EEC, European Parliament and Council Directives 2000/60/EC, 2001/80/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2006/12/EC, 2008/1/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006, OJ 2009 L 140/114.
  51. Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council providing for minimum criteria for environmental inspections in the Member States, OJ 2001 L118/41.
  52. Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, done at Aarhus, Denmark, on 25 June 1998.
  53. Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, 2014, Case Armenia ACCC/C/2004/8.
  54. United Nations, Economic and Social Council, 2006, Report on the eleventh meeting, FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS with regard to compliance by Armenia with its obligations under the Aarhus Convention in relation to the development of the Dalma Orchards area (Communication ACCC/C/2004/08 by the Center for Regional Development/Transparency International Armenia, the Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Protection Center and the Armenian Botanical Society (Armenia)), CE/MP.PP/C.1/2006/2/Add.1, 10 May 2006.
  55. J. Jendrośka, Public Participation in Environmental Decision-Making, in M. Pallamaerts (ed), The Aarhus Convention at Ten, (Groningen: Europa Law Publishing 2011), pp. 91-148 (96).
  56. Directive 2009/126/EC on stage II petrol vapour recovery refuelling of motor vehicles at service stations and varnishes and vehicles refinishing products and amending Directive 1999/13/EC, OJ 2009 L285/36.
  57. E. Bohne, The Quest for Environmental Regulatory Integration in the European Union. Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, Environmental Impact Assessment and Major Accident Prevention, (Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International 2006).