Gold-plating (European Union law)

Gold-plating is a term used to characterise the process whereby the powers of an EU directive are extended when being transposed into the national laws of a member state.[1][2][3] In operational terms, the European Commission defines gold-plating as "an excess of norms, guidelines and procedures accumulated at national, regional and local levels, which interfere with the expected policy goals to be achieved by such regulation".[1]

Business lobbyists generally argue against gold-plating, because additional regulation tends to raise costs for businesses,[4] but there are a few companies who stand to benefit from it.[5]


The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills gave the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 as an example of gold-plated EU legislation,[6] because it had granted temporary workers the right to performance-related bonuses, something that was not in the original EU law, which dealt with "the right to the same pay as permanent staff".[7]

In Italy, gold-plating has often been used as a device to pass through controversial measures and to ensure a lower degree of parliamentary scrutiny, particularly in periods of weak government.[citation needed]


EU governments committed themselves to a deregulation agenda at the Lisbon Summit in March 2000,[8] and as a consequence, the European Commission has supported more maximum harmonisation measures in recent years, which effectively prohibit gold-plating.

Within the UK, the 2010 coalition agreement included a pledge to end gold-plating; the original policy guidelines were finalised in June 2011. Specifically, they stipulate that all EU legislation be reviewed every five years by "all ensure that they are only implementing the absolute minimum regulation necessary to comply".[6] Previously, a 2006 review of gold-plating by Lord Davidson QC found that some EU laws had indeed been "over-implemented", but he cautioned against "copying out the text of a directive".[9]

See also


  1. Mateo Boci; Jan Marten De Vet; Andreas Pauer (February 2014). 'Gold-plating' in the EAFRD: To what extent do national rules unnecessarily add to complexity and, as a result, increase the risk of errors? (PDF) (IP/D/AL/FWC/209-056 ed.). Brussels: Directorate-General for Internal Policies of the Union.
  2. "Compliance, Transposition and Gold-Plating". [email protected]. University of Manchester. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  3. "Better Regulation: Simplification". European Commission. Archived from the original on 8 May 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  4. "Tories pledge to cut EU red tape". BBC News. 18 August 2004. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  5. Frank Frick (9 July 2006), "Erhebliche Kosten, aber keine 'Vergoldung' bei EU-Richtlinien", Bertelsmann Stiftung
  6. Davies, Chris (24 April 2013). "Minister says UK 'gold plating' of EU laws has stopped". BBC News.
  7. Peacock, Louisa (25 February 2013). "Michael Fallon: 'No more gold-plating of EU laws'". The Daily Telegraph.
  8. "The Lisbon Special European Council (March 2000): Towards a Europe of Innovation and Knowledge". Europa (under "Summaries of EU legislation").
  9. Tyler, Richard (16 December 2010). "EU laws must be copied out to avoid 'gold-plating', says Vince Cable". The Daily Telegraph.