From a BBC News article entitled EU 'has to slash business rules,' comes the following lead paragraph:

"The Dutch and Danish governments have issued a forceful plea for the European Union to adopt an aggressive policy on cutting red tape."

Further on, we learn that

"Both nations have embarked on schemes to simplify their business legislation."


"In a letter published in the Financial Times, the ministers point out that the Dutch and Danish governments plan to reduce administrative burdens on business in their countries by 25% between 2007 and 2010."
"It suggests that 'this systematic approach could also work in Brussels.'"

Thus, the solution to too much red tape is to adopt a firm policy on the reduction of red tape. Moreover, this policy must be embodied by a concrete system. A system controlled by rules, guidelines, and standards, given teeth by enabling legislation, and powered by hundreds of hard-working civil-servants, working tirelessly at the task of cutting the size of the civil service. Indeed, the only effective approach to cutting the size of the bureaucracy is the creation of a bureaucracy-cutting bureaucracy.

Some (and by "Some" I mean "I") might assert that, at this juncture, the EU at large is probably doing a better job of keeping its bureaucracy under control than The Netherlands and Denmark, simply by dint of not pursuing agressive red tape-cutting.

To be less snarky and more substantive, I'll point out that The Netherlands and Denmark are long on plans and goals and short on evidence of success thus far. I think cutting bureaucracy can be incredibly valuable, but it's not an easy thing to accomplish. Growing a bureaucracy is easy, but shrinking it is quite difficult. It's easy, and arguably necessary, to create more bureaucracy that has the goal of shrinking bureaucracy. It's far harder to keep that new bureaucracy under control, to make sure it's offering useful and practical suggestions, and to actually implement the red tape-cutting policies.

This is all a long way of saying: I would be far more impressed with The Netherlands' and Denmark's pleas for more bureaucracy reduction in the EU if they could offer a more tangible example of their own than a planned 25% reduction in business regulation by 2010.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on October 9, 2006 11:59 PM.

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