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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Regulations row

In case you missed it, Open Europe Research Director Mats Persson was on the BBC Politics Show on Sunday, discussing our new research, which puts the cost of EU regulations at £106.6 billion over the past ten years.

Also on the programme were Labour MPs Gisela Stuart, and Michael Connarty, Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee.

Mr Connarty wasn't too impressed by the findings, saying they were meaningless because "If the EU didn't exist, most of the regulations would be in law in this country anyway". He went on to say that "When it [a proposal] eventually becomes a regulation... people ignore the fact that we want it or we had it in the first place."

While it may be the case that, in some instances, EU legislation is not unwelcome, there are two important points to make here. Firstly, although the UK might have wanted a proposal originally, that doesn't necessarily mean that that would still be the case once it has made its way through the lengthy European legislative process.

Secondly, it is fundamentally important to understand where legislation has come from - otherwise how can we possibly think about attempting to de-regulate? As Gisela put it on Sunday: "I think you need to look at where legislation is made, who's responsible for what and whether it's been properly assessed of what the kind of impact and what are sometimes called the unintended consequences of legislation are, so I think to rubbish a report that just looks at the decision making process seems strange to me."

Mr Connarty may well not be interested in looking at the decision making process and understanding where legislation comes from, especially considering he voted against a Bill back in October to require Statutory Instruments to state whether they were the result of a decision made in the European Union or not.

Mr Connarty went on to suggest that if the EU did not exist, "probably 90% or more of those regulations would still exist because we need them." We are not quite sure where he has plucked this figure from.

If he finds time to read our report, he will see that about 50% of the number of regulations introduced in the UK in the last ten years originate in the EU, yet these are responsible for over 70% of the cost of regulations , suggesting that EU regulation imposes a higher burden on the UK economy than domestic legislation does. The Working Time Directive is only one example that springs to mind of an EU regulation that would not exist without the EU. If the rest of the 10% is like that one, it would be a very costly minority indeed...


Anonymous said...

We ALL know that the European Parliament is just a VERY expensive talking shop, with so much hot air,I'm surprised they don't all rise into the sky from both of their wasteful expensive clubs. Strasburgh and Bonn. There must surely come a time when we ditch the whole idea of E.U.Parliament, or sort out the corruption therein. Let us please go back to the Common Market, which at least is what sensible people, and myself signed up for in the first place, and get rid of the nonsensicle movement every month of thousands of files and people too and fro. Once and for all disband the offices and Commissioners along with M E P's. Failing that, we could do as the French do, if they don't like the rubbish that comes from E U Parliament, they ignore it.

Anonymous said...

We are in the ridiculous situation where: Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, states that new pesticides regulations, "…could hit production for no recognisable benefit to human health, and we are being asked to agree to something when nobody knows what the impact will be." The Royal College of Surgeons has warned that the working time directive could compromise patient safety and Open Europe has discovered that EU regulations have cost Britain £107 billion in the last decade.

You can expect nothing else from the EU, which was devised by bureaucrats to increase the power of bureaucrats. All you can expect from a bureaucracy is bureaucracy. They know nothing else and can produce nothing else.

No government claiming to work in the national interest can allow this to continue. The people of Britain only agreed to stay in the EEC, in 1975, because they were told that they would be better off in terms of trade and jobs. This was a lie of omission.

They were not told that the crazy structure of the EU would make the bureaucrats both the executive and the chief beneficiaries of the existence of the EU and would allow the faceless ones in Brussels to pursue their own common self interest at the expense of everybody else.

The EU is simply the wrong kind of organisation for Britain to have joined. The loss of sovereignty is humiliating and degrading to our national self esteem. In suffering this constant submission to rules that damage our national welfare and prosperity; the British government diminishes itself in the eyes of the electorate. Why vote for a government that cannot defend us from the malign actions of an alien power?

We should never have joined and we should leave soonest.

Anonymous said...

The European Union isn't a Parliment, the real term for this unlawful organisation is a DICTATORSHIP, and one big party for our own MEP's..
I can't believe the money that's wasted to prop up this disgusting organisation, which was created by a bunch of power crazy morons..

Anonymous said...

Most people in this country complain about the EU and how it has evolved from a common market policy into a dictatorship. A dictatorship which is costing us billions of pounds of WASTED money. The trouble is how to we change it?????????????