On October 2 the European Commission is to submit a working paper on the “purging of European legislation”, reports Die Welt, which was able to get an advance copy of the text. The proposal is to make the drafting process and content of the rules laid down by Brussels more fluid and logical — and less sensitive to pressure from lobbies. For Commission President José Manuel Barroso, “de-bureaucratisation” offers a response to persistent criticisms of regulations deemed excessive and, above all, to the success of Eurosceptic parties in many countries. As the German daily explains, the Commission “now wants to do a clean-up and examine precisely what, in their eyes, is meaningful regulation and what is bureaucratic nonsense”.

It’s a “major project” without precedent that has nevertheless sparked resistance in the ranks of the institution chaired by José Manuel Barroso, the paper continues:

Unprecedented and driven by an admirable ambition, this project breaks with the long tradition of the legislative authority of regulating everything that can be regulated at the European level — hence the lively controversy. José Manuel Barroso's “de-bureaucratisation” project has provoked a series of showdowns: involving European Commissioners, the political leadership of the Commission [the office of the Commissioners] and influential officials, as well as putting the head of the Commission at odds with some elements of the European Parliament. Several months ago, departments were tasked with identifying what they consider superfluous in their areas of competence. At the beginning of August the first reports were handed in. After examining the results, the project leaders drew up a list that fuelled the controversy: almost all of the Commissioners and Directorates-General are affected, and nearly all areas of European legislation will have to be thinned out. However, regulation is at the very heart of the Commission — and for a number of people, it would be a mistake to declare “unnecessary” projects that are the bread and butter of their own offices.

Some Commissioners have also already made it clear to Barroso that they are not going along with his project, writes Die Welt. “In the face of opposition,” the newspaper writes, “proposals sink into oblivion. It remains to be seen,” the daily adds, “what will still remain on the long list of ‘de-bureaucratisation' projects when all is done.”