COURT OF AUDITORS Special report No 16/2018: Ex-post review of EU legislation: a well-established system, but incomplete

The report from the European Court of Auditors (ECA) sets out the results from its audit of the EU system of ex-post review of legislation. The audit covered ex-post reviews of legislation carried out between 2013 and 2016 by four directorates-general of the Commission, as well as all legislation and ex-ante Impact Assessments within the remit of those directorates-general adopted between 2014 and 2016.

The report makes a number of observations from its findings. On the basis of these observations, the ECA makes several recommendations to the Commission, and one to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board.

The recommendations are summarised as: the enhancement of the inter-institutional agreement on better law-making; the definition of minimum standards for all ex-post reviews; the conduct of a gap analysis of data collection and management capabilities; the ensuring of respect for the ‘evaluate first’ principle (including the recommendation of an annual publication by the Regulatory Scrutiny Board of Impact Assessments not following this principle); and the mainstreaming of REFIT into the European Commission’s Better Regulation cycle.

The report draws the conclusion that overall, the Commission’s ex-post review system compares well to the situation in the majority of Member States. The report finds that the Commission has designed a system which is, as a whole, well-managed and quality-controlled, and therefore contributing effectively to the Better Regulation policy cycle. However, the report finds weaknesses regarding reviews other than evaluations (such as wide use of review clauses without common inter-institutional definitions and drafting guidelines, resulting in unclear content and expected outputs).

Topic  EU Audits 
Department  DBEIS 
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Associated file(s)


  1. COA REPORT - 3 MB - pdf
  2. EM COA REPORT - 221 KB - pdf

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