Image: Glyn Lowe Image: Glyn Lowe

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has given its backing to the European Commisson's attempt to lighten the load on business in through the 2016 Work Programme.

Every year, the Brussels issues a plan of action for the coming 12 months. The 2016 Work Programme features 23 key initiatives, but First Vice President Frans Timmermans highlighted the migrant and refugee crisis, growth, jobs and investments, energy, fair taxation and the labour market as the Programme's five priorities.

He said: “2016 will be a year of real social progress.”

Timmermans stated that migration was the top priority and he intends to open two processes. First he proposes a European border and Coast Guard, secondly he wants to “overhaul our common asylum to correct the gaps and weaknesses exposed in the Dublin system and to strengthen the role of the European Asylum support office.”

Allie Renison, Head of EU and Trade policy at the IoD, said: “It is absolutely right that Brussels is reviewing the impact of EU regulation on businesses. This is the perfect opportunity for European regulators to press the pause button, and take a look at the effect on small and medium-sized firms in particular, who often bear the brunt of EU laws.

“However, we are concerned by the idea of developing a new ‘pillar’ of European social rights, and plans for EU action to deal with work-life balance, as these are areas best addressed at the national level.”

Mr Timmermans added that “(the Commission) takes full responsibility of the choices it makes”, but it will not be able to “deliver results without insufficient ownership of the co — legislators.”