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Friday, February 09, 2007

An email to Richard Corbett MEP

From: Open Europe
Sent: 09 February 2007 11:56
To: Richard Corbett MEP
Subject: Your blog

Dear Richard

Regarding our report on the growing burden of EU regulation - I'm sorry that "our lies and hypocrisy make you sick". As with your earlier post about how EU-critics are "like Goebbels", it made us worry that you might have been overdoing it a bit lately. Perhaps you should have a nice cup of tea and calm down.

You mention that we are “rarely specific” about what legislation we do and don’t want repealed. I’m not sure that’s fair. For example on our website you can find a 120 page report on the Financial Services Action Plan, in which we look (in a pretty high level of detail to be fair) at which pieces of legislation are and are not worth keeping. We also look how individual bits of legislation might be reformed.

You argue that "a large proportion of this EU regulation is designed precisely to cut bureaucracy and red-tape for businesses by setting a common EU norm to replace 27 divergent national standards in the EU's single market."

You have to be kidding. Whether it is serious (like rules on working time), or ridiculous (making 12 year olds kids sit in car seats) a lot of EU legislation is not replacing a national standard but creating a new regulation.

Even where it is supposedly harmonisation, the process of reconciling 27 regulations often leads to a sort of "highest common denominator" approach: every national requirement lumped together - with regulation across the whole economy increased as an outcome. What about mutual recognition?

You say that it's "somewhat simplistic" to say that the EU "imposes" regulations by majority vote. But it happens all the time. Think about Gordon Brown being ambushed in the vote over MIFID when he was away at the birth of his son. Think about the number of things we have dumped (like the takeover directive, principled commitment to free trade) in order to try and hold the line on working hours.

Anyway, we would have left you a reply on the blog but you don't seem to have comments turned on for some reason. Perhaps you might turn them on, in the interests of dialogue rather than monologue?

Have a good weekend.

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