On April 20, 2012, the Di Rupo government approved a plan for administrative simplification, proposed by Minister for Budget and Administrative Simplification, Olivier Chastel (MR). By bringing down administrative costs by 30% by 2014, the government seeks to create a stable and simplified business environment.
The approval of Chastel’s plan for administrative simplification is a first step in improving companies’ competitiveness. By alleviating administrative burdens, companies will be able to focus on their business rather than on compliance with legislation and regulations.
The proposal comes after a biennial survey by the Federal Planning Bureau released on March 3, 2012. This revealed that the cost of administrative burdens (i.e. fiscal, employment and environment) increased a further 7% to €6.35bn or 1.79% of GDP in the period of 2008-2010 (€5.07bn and €1.28bn for companies and self-employed respectively). Although this increase was mostly attributable to environmental legislation, the rising burden is also due to overly complex legislation concerning tax and employment.
By the end of 2014, the government’s aims to reduce these administrative costs by 30% through a number of projects proposed in the government agreement and proposals of other policy units and institutions, such as the Department of Administrative Simplification, the Crossroads Bank for Social Security and Coperfin. The government will continuously update the plan and monitor administrative burdens which have not yet been presented to the Cabinet. The Department of Administrative Simplification will report on the progress every six months.
One of the major projects in the plan for administrative simplification is the improvement of the Kafka-test. The Kafka-test is an evaluation which maps the impact of new legislation on the administrative burdens for civilians, companies and non-profit organizations. By assessing the number of administrative formalities and obligations, the size of the responsible target group, the time spent and the periodicity, the Kafka-test exposes new or hidden burdens and serves as a tool for administrative simplification.
Other projects are aimed at the streamlining and computerization of different administrative duties, such as the registration for new companies (eDepot), the further digitalization of invoices and meal vouchers and a simplification of work permit procedures for foreign workers. Most importantly, in order to prevent the communication of the same information to different administrations, the action plan for administrative simplification foresees the creation of a unique contact center for all formalities that companies are faced with.