Summary of RegWatchEurope 2022

Marek Havrda

We asked RIAB’s (Regulatory Impact Assessment Board) chairman, Marek Havrda, to tell us about his experiences of the past business year.

– For RWE and RIAB, the year 2022 presented both a challenge and a chance to gather a lot of experience. We are overjoyed that we were able to host a total of three physical meetings in Prague after more than two years of being unable to do so. Besides the two board meetings and two secretariat level meetings, one of which was held fully online, a total of three workshops were held.

Within the workshops, we focused on several softer but still very relevant topics for the network members. The workshops covered institutional resistance to innovation in better regulation, garnering political support and application of behavioural insights in regulatory scrutiny. In addition to the regular events, a workshop on COVID-19 legislation was held in September under the leadership of our colleagues from ATR (the Netherlands), which was embedded in the programme of the Directors and Experts of Better Regulation conference. Given the hybrid nature of the workshops, we welcomed dozens of traditional experts from RWE oversight bodies, non-members, national administrations, European structures, the OECD, academia, and non-traditional guests from overseas.

During our chairmanship, we have focused on expanding the format and exploring fresh, untraditional topics during the workshops. Shorter presentations, more time for lively debate, more guest speakers, and an emphasis on softer issues connected to better regulation and regulatory scrutiny have all been introduced.

Other topics of interest included international advocacy, where we took advantage of synergies with the Czech EU Presidency to establish a close link to the Better Regulation Working Group in the EU Council, actively participated in OECD Regulatory Policy Committee meetings, established new promising liaisons with foreign partners, and will continue to work on deepening our relationship with Vice-President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, responsible for the Better Regulation Agenda.

The visual identity and branding of our network was a pivotal and long unresolved topic, but we managed to design and agree on a new RWE logo that will be used on platform documents and in communication with our external partners. We also succeeded in updating the website’s content and redesigning it. All of these actions, in my opinion, will increase public awareness of RWE and help us reach our shared objectives.

We covered a wide range of issues and difficulties related to RIA drafting and scrutiny throughout our discussions. Given the heterogeneity of our bodies and national administrations, the issues we face are also quite diverse. Nevertheless, several universal challenges can be identified, such as miscommunication and the existence of communication silos across ministries and government agencies, new trends in RIA such as embedding foresight and linking SDGs into RIA and into better regulation, the tendency towards formalistic processing, and the lack of analytical capacity for quality RIA processing. Additionally, this is one of the most significant and persistent issues we encounter when working at RIAB, a challenge that we aim to bring up and address in the upcoming year in collaboration with our partners, where we will be vocal in supporting the creation of new analytical units in ministries and the centre of government.