Today, the European Commission has launched a revamped version of the ‘Have Your Say’ portal. This online platform invites all citizens, (including businesses and non-governmental organisations), to share their views on Commission initiatives at key stages in the legislative process. The new version should further improve Commission consultation and communication with the public and increase transparency. The aim is to enhance the quality of EU policymaking, thanks to the input of all relevant stakeholders, via the portal.
The new version makes it easier for the public to find on the portal the Commission initiative they are most interested in, thanks to improved search functionalities. The portal is more user-friendly, so that the public can share their views by accessing directly the newest consultations of high interest on the home page, such as the consultation on Sustainable and Smart Mobility strategy.
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, said: “By improving the Have Your Say portal and making it more intuitive, we are stepping up our outreach. I want to encourage stakeholders and citizens – including those without an in-depth knowledge of EU policy-making – to contribute to our initiatives as they take shape before and after their adoption by the Commission. This is another crucial way to ensure that our legislation meets the highest quality standards.”
As part of its ‘Better Regulation’ agenda, the Commission is consulting a broad range of organisations, and the general public, with such outreach tools as ‘Have Your Say‘. In actively collecting and analysing online feedback, the Commission ensures that EU initiatives are responsive and proportional to current challenges, – such as the green and digital transitions.
The following three public consultations on the new ‘Have Your Say’ portal illustrate this: the consultation on the Digital Services Act: deepening the Internal Market and clarifying responsibilities for digital services ; the consultation on Sustainable and Smart Mobility and the consultation on a New consumer agenda.
The European Commission launched the Better Regulation agenda in 2015 to improve policymaking and simplify laws. Public consultation is part of the wider agenda to improve the transparency and accountability of EU activities. A key objective of the Commission has been to promote the participation of all Europeans and civil society in shaping EU policy.
Through the ‘Have your say‘ portal, individuals and organisations can give feedback on roadmaps or impact assessments of upcoming legislation. They can also take part in 12-week public consultations on initiatives under preparation or evaluations of the performance of existing EU actions. In addition, everybody has the possibility to comment on draft delegated and implementing acts.
Such public forms of stakeholder engagement can also sometimes be complemented by targeted consultations, tailored to selected stakeholders. The choice of the most appropriate consultation tool is always case-specific and depends on consultation objectives, target groups and available time and resources. The public and stakeholders may, however, always provide suggestions on how the regulatory burden can be reduced and how existing laws can be improved and made more effective through the ‘‘Have your say: Simplify!’‘ feature.
The Commission has conducted 454 public consultations between 2015 and 2018. The average number of contributions has gone up from an average of 461 contributions in 2015, to an average of 2,091 contributions in 2018. This excludes positive outliers, such as the public consultation on ‘summertime arrangements’, which received approximately 4.6 million replies.
The number of responses varies depending on the nature of the topic addressed. Since April 2017, the Commission has committed to translating questionnaires for the most important initiatives into all official EU languages. All public consultations were available in at least two languages in 2018, and 71% were translated into all official languages (except Irish). Respondents may reply in any official EU language.
Since 2017, 86 inception impact assessments, 128 roadmaps and 96 evaluation roadmaps were published for feedback. They attracted 4,249 feedback contributions. Between July 2016 and December 2018, the Commission published 151 draft delegated acts and 191 draft implementing acts. These attracted 1,576 and 1,770 feedback contributions, respectively.