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Problem identification

A good definition of the problem and a clear understanding of what causes it are preconditions for setting objectives and identifying options to address the problem. A good problem definition should:

  • describe the nature of problem in clear terms and support the description with clear evidence
  • set out clearly the scale of the problem,
  • set out clearly who is most affected by it
  • identify clearly the drivers or underlying causes of the problem
  • describe how the problem has developed over time and how existing policies at Community or Member State level affect it
  • identify a clear baseline, i.e. describe how the problem is likely to develop in the future without new EU action
  • identify clearly assumptions made, risks and uncertainty involved
  • describe why the problem needs action at Community level on the basis of principles set in the Treaty (Conferral and Subsidiarity).

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