All Commission IAs must have clear objectives which are directly related to solving the problems which have been identified. Only clearly defined objectives will make the level of ambition visible, show that the proposal respects the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, help ensure coherence of Commission policies, and allow for identification and comparison of options for action and their likely impacts.
Without clear objectives, it is impossible to evaluate the extent to which the action has generated its intended effects.
- Defining objectives may be an iterative process: the objectives are refined in the course of the IA work. The definition should:
- set out objectives that are clearly linked to the problem and its root causes, respect the subsidiarity and proportionality principles, and correspond to Treaty objectives and Commission priorities and strategies (such as the Lisbon and Sustainable Development Strategies or the EU Chart of Fundamental Rights);
- set out general objectives and translate them into specific and, where appropriate, operational objectives, thus setting a hierarchy of objectives.
- express the objectives in SMART terms (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-dependent)