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IRDAC opinion on the legal and regulatory environment for RTD and innovation

IRDAC, the European Commission's Industrial Research and Development Advisory Committee, has recently published its opinion on the "Legal and regulatory environment for RTD and innovation". The Committee states that the improvements in industrial competitiveness and economic g...
IRDAC, the European Commission's Industrial Research and Development Advisory Committee, has recently published its opinion on the "Legal and regulatory environment for RTD and innovation". The Committee states that the improvements in industrial competitiveness and economic growth needed in Europe can only be guaranteed if a simple legal and regulatory environment is put in place.

The opinion was drawn up following a round table of experts which discussed the current legal and regulatory environment facing three separate industries. The debate stems from the Commission's Green Paper on Innovation, which makes clear that a favourable environment does not exist in Europe. The three case studies examined by the round table - information and communications technologies, chemical sector and motor industry - demonstrate that the problems faced by each are remarkably similar.

"Industrial innovation in Europe is hampered by over-regulation, lack of standards and cumbersome administrative formalities", according to the round table. The opinion makes a number of recommendations to improve Europe's legal and regulatory environment, including:

- Regulations should only be introduced, at national and European level, if there is a real need or added value. Regulations at Community level should also ensure a level playing field with the USA and Japan;

- European industry is perfectly capable of self-regulation, according to IRDAC. This is, however, more appropriate for new industries than established ones;

- Where regulations are set at Community level, they should state clear objectives within a clear timetable, be based on sound scientific facts, and be accompanied by incentives for the target group to accept them;

- The Commission should establish an "innovation watchdog" to continuously assess the impact of EU regulations on innovation in Europe.
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