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Europe

Brussels to Miss Target for Cropping Rule Book

The European Union's executive body says it has failed to meet its own target to cut legislation by 25 percent by the end of 2004.

A European Commission document to be published on Wednesday will show that Brussels will miss its target of cutting the body of EU legislation by 25 percent before the end of this year. The communication from the Commission, obtained by the EUobserver, assesses the progress of the EU executive in reducing and simplifying the so-called acquis communautaire, the vast body of EU law that runs to over 80,000 pages. In 2001, the Commission set itself the target of reducing the volume of the acquis by 25 percent -- or 22,500 pages -- by the end of this year, scrapping obsolete and overlapping passages and limiting the administrative burden on businesses. But in the new document the Commission concludes that "the 25 percent objective is unlikely to be reached by end-2004." The Commission says it has encountered "unforeseen problems," which are "for a large part beyond its control." The EU executive blames the delays on EU enlargement, it states in its report. (EUobserver.com)