Communications as the indication of the European Commission’s policy and way of thinking
Nowadays, communications are being increasingly issued by the European Commission. Although communications do not have legal effect, it does not mean that they are deprived of practical significance. Undoubtedly, they are useful indications of the Commission’s policy for business and entrepreneurs.
Communications may fulfil different functions. In consequence, we may distinguish informative, interpretative or decisive communications.Such division should be treated with a dose of flexibility since the actual function of a communication depends on its content, aim and the intention of the institution that has issued this instrument. We can further divide informative communications to inter-institutional, purely-informative and individual ones. The most frequent communications are informative ones with inter-institutional scope.
The example of such communication is the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, The European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions on resource efficiency opportunities in the building sector (COM/2014/445). Although the Commission directs the communication to other EU institutions, thanks to them, entrepreneurs may follow the Commission’s expressions of their future path in their policy proposals. In this sense, communications fulfil their pre-law function as soft law instruments. It means that a soft law instrument is used to provide a summary and overview on the current situation in a specific industry or business, it identifies gaps in the current legislations, and it proposes solutions for further action.
The Communication on resource efficiency opportunities in the building sector gives the insight into the challenges the industry faces and describes general aims to improve design, construction, demotion and recycling of construction products. At the same time, it leads to the conclusion that there is a need to have common objectives, indicators, data and the mutual recognition as it will help to support the internal market. The Commission also invites various stakeholders, apart from public authorities and social partners, business representatives in the construction field for a discussion and debate. Following the communication, the European Commission published the discussion paper - State of infrastructure maintenance and a document called EU Construction and Demolition Waste Protocol and Guidelines that also fits in the intention that the Commission announced in the Communication the European Parliament and the Council on strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises (COM/2012/0433).
As we can see, the communications despite their lack of legal effect, they can be a trigger that starts the debate and discussion on a specific area of EU law, and it can lead to further changes to legislation that is relevant for construction industry and business. If you, as an entrepreneur or representative of business entity, wants to be ahead of competitors and make sure that your business plan and strategy will be in compliance with the EU law for a longer perspective, it is recommended to follow closely communications issued by the European Commission.