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Distinguishing between options in terms of the type and substance of the intervention

Options must be clearly related to the objectives and must be proportionate. Start by considering a wide but credible range of options. Avoid presenting only the status quo option, the ‘extreme’ option and the preferred option or presenting cosmplementary actions only. The set of options should include:

  • the ‘no policy change’ baseline scenario
  • ‘no EU action’ (e.g. discontinuing existing EU action)
  • where legislation already exists, improved implementation/ enforcement, perhaps with additional guidance
  • self- and co-regulation
  • international standards where these exist.

Narrow down the options by screening them for technical and other constraints, and by assessing them against criteria of effectiveness, efficiency and coherence with other overarching EU policy objectives. Explain clearly the reasons for excluding certain options from further analysis. Analyse the remaining options in depth.
Where relevant, distinguish options at two levels:

  • Options for the content of the intervention
  • options for the type of intervention – Regulation, Directive, Recommendation, Communication, self-regulation, co-regulation.

In an IA for a legislative proposal, try to anticipate and assess in your options major amendments that Council and the European Parliament may introduce in the policy process.

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