• Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook

Search This Blog

Visit our new website.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Is the UK winning the argument on EU regulation?

Yesterday afternoon Open Europe hosted Business and Energy Minister, Michael Fallon MP, the man responsible for pushing the UK's 'smarter regulation' agenda in Brussels. This is a subject close to Open Europe's heart as we have produced a number of highly detailed reports on the cost of EU regulation - £124bn gross between 1998 and 2010.

In his speech, Fallon argued that while the single market had the potential to be the "greatest platform for economic growth", overly burdensome regulation coming from the EU was choking off potential jobs, growth and competitiveness, and as argued by David Cameron in his EU speech, Europe could not afford this in the global context. "The burden of unnecessary costs" was carried more heavily by Europe than by its competitors, he said.

He argued that this burden falls particularly hard on SMEs, citing a consultation which found that many had to employ a dedicated member of staff simply to process the workload stemming from the EU's REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances) Directive. Other areas of EU legislation identified as particularly onerous were the Working Time Directive, the Agency Worker's Directive and other social and environmental rules.

During the Q&A session he pointed out that leaving the EU was not a panacea - as UK companies exporting to the EU would still have to comply with many of these regulations without having any say over them, something currently vexing the Norwegians (see here for a more detailed look at this issue).

Fallon argued that progress had already been made on over-regulation on both the UK and EU fronts, pointing to strong support from other member states including Germany, which resulted in the recent letter signed by twelve member states calling for a reduction in the overall EU regulatory burden. Fallon pointed out that as a result of the crisis, many member states had become a lot more receptive to UK-style reforms, with France and Poland adopting a 'one in, one out' approach to regulation based on the UK model. He was also hopeful that Mediterranean countries would become allies in this fight given their need to restructure their economies and said he was disappointed they had not done so already.

On the UK front, Fallon claimed that the coalition's six-point transposition plan for EU laws had resulted in the elimination of costs associated with gold-plating, i.e. that when adopting new EU laws, the UK would only impose the minimum standards necessary to comply.

However, as Fallon acknowledged, there is still more to be done, arguing for example that EU impact assessments ought to be independently verified, and that a "cultural shift" needed to take place in Brussels.


Freedom Lover said...

"Is the UK winning the argument on EU regulation?" In practice, this is a contradiction in terms. Britain is never "meant" to win the argument - as far as Brussels is concerned.

christina speight said...

This is a good example of Open Europe moving from researched facts to sheer propaganda.

There is no question of ANY MEANINGFUL reform of ANY kind whatsoever coming from the assembled EU asa they will will never agree to anything that needs a treaty change so all the hot air from Cameron and Open Europe is so much smokescreen s=designed to make us think once again that somebody is listening when they are not,

All the things OE mentions as obstacles to our leaving are so much waffle - If we leave and join EEA we would free access in all respects AND furthermore in many cases would be consulted further up the line - AS NORWAY IS - in matters of detail for we would resume our independent existence as full members of bodies like the WTO where many of these matters originate.

Elsewhere you say that the Norwegians are concerned about this but you "forgot" to mention that the only people in Norway who say they are worried are those minority politicians who want Norway to JOIN the EU.. This is dishonest of Open Europe.

tadmeister said...

Been hearing this since John major's day. "We are winning the argument in Europe'. Absolute tosh, of course. One of those phrases like 'Special Relationshio' which PM's trot out regularly as if it made any difference.

Anonymous said...

"'... the single market had the potential to be the "greatest platform for economic growth ...'"

This simply isn't true.

The problem is that the EUSSR Commission and other Eurofascists are starting to believe their own lying propaganda.

jon livesey said...

"...as UK companies exporting to the EU would still have to comply with many of these regulations without having any say over them..."

Right, and this is a key point that often gets left out of discussions.

I have been involved in export industries almost all my working life, and to me it's perfectly normal to have to conform to relevant trade-related regulations in export markets.

For example, if you export electronics to South Korea, your product has to conform to Korean electrical safety regulations, which are slightly different to those of Japan, and so on.

But Korea does not claim extra-territorial jurisdiction. It doesn't want to regulate how many female directors sit on your Board, or how you dispose of hazardous waste.

It seems the EU is a roach motel. Once you are in, it finds ways to stick to you even if you try to leave.

The only long-term solution I can see to this is to keep the current trend of exports to markets outside the EU growing much faster than EU export markets, so that in the end the EU is a much less significant export market.

And that will happen. The EU is already down to around 45% of UK exports versus over half in 2000, and the EU's share of World GDP is projected to fall from 30% in 200 to 19% in 2030.

Rik said...

Female boardmembers is an example that there is still a long way to go.
Has anybody an idea how much management time it costs to implement such a thing in a larger company.

Let them first call a moratorium on this kind of nonsense no legislation unless things directly have a positive economic effect. No more red tape if you want to get the economy going (how well meant it is).