In a bid to cut EU law of its verbiage, the European Commission (EC) is planning to pulp up to 35,000 pages of legislation by 2005

Streamlining the thousands of pages of the EU's body of law, the acquis communautaire, is a Herculean task, but the EC does not seem to mind; after all, it proposed most of the legislation in the first place. This week it released plans to chop 1,000 pages from the EU's Official Journal, the gazette where formal statements of European legislation are published.

The idea was first mooted in the run-up to the EU 2001 Laeken Summit in Belgium. This spawned the Brussels Better Regulation Action Plan, which led to a series of acts approved by ministers and the European Parliament to codify complex EU legislation where directives have been amended repeatedly without being drawn into a composite whole.