One year after CONCORD’s report analysing whether Commission impact assessments sufficiently take into account the impact of policy proposals on developing countries, where do we stand? Did the Commission learn to use more systematically and carefully the Better Regulation guidelines? Did those impact assessments look at the different dimensions of sustainable development? And were concerns put forward by civil society taken into account?

In this new paper The impact of EU policies in the world. Seeing the bigger picture – one year on, CONCORD conducts a quantitative analysis of the impact assessments from 2017 and the first half of 2018, comparing this with our data from previous years, and a more in-depth qualitative analysis of 3 particular cases. On the basis of this analysis, concrete recommendations are put forward, in order to feed into the ongoing evaluation of the Better Regulation package and make future EU policies more coherent with sustainable development.


Why do Impact Assessments matter?

Impact assessments are in principle a powerful tool for ensuring that the negative impacts of EU policies on developing countries are minimised, and their positive impacts maximised. Over the past few years, however, the European Commission’s track record in using that tool to ensure policy coherence for sustainable development (PCD) has been poor.

In 2015 and again 2017, the European Commission revised its guidelines for impact assessments. While in 2016, still only 24% of the proposals relevant to developing countries were accompanied by an impact assessment that looked in sufficient depth into the impacts on those countries, we now want to find out whether this has improved since…



Today, where do we stand?

Our quantitative analysis for 2017 seems to reveal a major improvement in the way the Commission services conduct impact assessments. In the first half of 2018, however, they perform again below average. The qualitative analysis helps us understand why these changes occurred and what still urgently needs to be improved.

Concretely, this paper looks more closely into the impact assessments accompanying the proposal to establish a multilateral court for the settlement of investment disputes, the proposal to reduce unfair trading practices in global food supply chains and the proposal to set up a framework for sustainable investments.


To know more about the concrete findings and recommendations CONCORD draws from this analysis, please read the paper and consult last year’s edition below.