It was with great interest that EASA read the highly anticipated Commission Communication “Better Regulation for Better Results – an EU Agenda”, launched by First Vice President Frans Timmermans yesterday.  

EASA welcomes the Commission’s open commitment to making sure the EU focuses “on the things that really do need to be done by the EU and making sure they are done well”. In particular, that when policy based solutions are needed, the Commission will “consider both regulatory and well-designed non-regulatory means”.

For over 20 years EASA and its members have promoted advertising self-regulation as an alternative policy option to detailed legislation in this field. Our proven experience has led to our inclusion in the Steering Group of the Commission’s own Community of Practice for Better Self- and Co Regulation. The principles for better self- and co- regulation developed by the Community of Practice are endorsed in the Commission's new Better Regulation Package. 

Effective self-regulation, within a sensible legal framework, can provide the most appropriate response to rapid changes in technology and ways of marketing. The OECDand APEC have recognised the potential value self-regulation can bring to consumers and business respectively.  

We look forward to seeing a new inter-institutional agreement (IIA) at the end of the year and hope that the recognition given to self-and co-regulation in the 2003 IIA is reinforced. With the Commission’s commitments to “consulting more, listening better” and “an inclusive approach” in mind, we look forward to taking part in and contributing to its development. 

For us, the key success factors for the Commission’s Better Regulation Agenda will be:

•    Ensuring that the EU only acts where it adds value and doesn’t add any unnecessary burden; 
•    Ensuring that non-legislative policy alternatives such as self- and co-regulation, are systematically considered from the start of the Impact Assessment process;
•    Strengthened recognition of self- and co-regulation as alternative policy options in the new inter-institutional agreement, including provision for them to be given the space needed to operate effectively;
•    Adequate consultation with relevant self and co-regulatory initiatives on compliance and enforcement issues as part of the REFIT programme.  

The idea legislation should be “sensible and realistic” is one that we fully support and we see ad self-regulation as an ideal complement to the EU framework when it comes to marketing communications. You can read about how Advertising Self-Regulation is Better Regulation and the role it has to play in EASA's new publication here.


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