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Thursday, May 08, 2014

So, Nick, how many laws come from Brussels?

In the first IN/OUT Europe debate between Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg on 26 March, the leader of the Liberal Democrats claimed that the percentage of UK laws coming from the EU was 7%, citing research by the House of Commons Library.

This created much debate at the time, particularly as Nigel Farage claimed that figure was actually 75%, quoting the long-standing UKIP supporter Viviane Reding.

We are no stranger to this debate having written a number of times about the futility of estimating the proportion of EU laws implemented in the UK, and the differing claims. However we were surprised to discover that Nick Clegg himself is no stranger to this debate. Here he is writing in 2003:
Probably half of all new legislation now enacted in the UK begins in Brussels. The European parliament has extensive powers to amend or strike down laws in almost every conceivable area of public life.
And in case that was an accidental slip of the keyboard, here he is again speaking in 2004:
Well over 50 per cent of all new laws in the UK now emanate from Brussels and are processed by Parliament and that MEPs are now arguably some of the most powerful legislators in Europe.
That people - usually depending on ideological disposition - give wildly conflicting estimates about the share of EU laws is old news. Radically conflicting estimates from the same person is something new, however.


Jesper said...

A good question to ask politicians might be:

How large proportion of new laws SHOULD originate in Brussels?
7%? 50%? 75%? or?

Rik said...

Since that statement by Ms Reding in the UK context any defender of the EU should keep away as much and as far as possible from this subject.

75% will basically be seen by many as between a lot or way too much. Simply the percentage itself is EU negative. One has to bear in mind that EUsceptis is not only policies itself but simply the lack of democracy attached to it.

Clegg going for 7% was complete moronic in that light. A large majority will simply see Reding as a much more reliable source.
And subsequently see Clegg as a (sort of) liar (this is way beyond spinning).

Starting a discussion on it in a public debate was an absolute miss. A discussion puts something in the spotlight. Especially one with a nice fighting dimension in it. You can expect some fireworks here, that will a) attract media attention and b) will stick in peoples mind as one of the highlights of the debate.
And you donot want things in the spotlight that make you look like an idiot/liar.

The problem the EU have here is that the 75% has now so many times be repeated. also because of this. The first stupid remark by reding was magnified by Clegg to go full force into a discussion on it.

Because the large majority think that Reding would have benefitted from a lower percentage that it has become more or less a given that it is 75% (probably rather higher than lower).
Even if it would be 7%. Research on that is simply so complicated that you are very unlikely to communicate that properly to the electorate. And unless there is a credible source (so eg say if Farage would say it is only 7% and a lot of times. Farage for the same reason as Reding). Otherwise it is 75%.

The EU is full of these contradictions. Which could be horrible for its credibility. However most are not really well exploited.
Like programms (long term) to get unemployed at work, at the same time mass immigration to make up the numbers because of aging.
Draghis bondbuying where it took almost half a year before the reason mentioned for it was the one that was legally allowed. That one is probably too difficult technically. Now again deflationrisk (not because it is bad for growth, but it reduces the potential for infalting the debt away). Also too technical.

Anonymous said...

Strange how such a strong eu supporter, and lets be honest he used to work there, tries to down grade its influence when he wants to say we should stay in, this reflects the same lies we got told for the last, and only, referendum on the eussr on whether we should leave.

Denis Cooper said...

So, putting it shortly but more brutally than Farage did during his second debate with Mr "7%" Clegg, the latter is a liar.

Anonymous said...

"7% Clegg" needs to be brought to book for lying to us all in such a public domain.


Can anything be done get him disciplined and sacked? If he were a Director of a public company we could - we could even have him disbarred.


Rollo said...

I do not know why you give publicity to this creep. Remember when he marched all of his troops out of the commons 'because he was denied an In Out Referendum' (but of course only to avoid his promised referendum on the turning down an offer of this In Out referendum 2 weeks later, to treaty)? Remember his Lords then achieve the same deceit? If democracy dies, it will not be because of war or pestilence but because lying creeps like Clegg get top the top of the pile.

Simon said...

Both Clegg and Farage are engaging in misleading campaigning. The percentage of laws coming from Brussels is utterly irrelevant because it tells you nothing at all about how important those laws are. The only time anyone ever mentions it is to make some crude point about the EU either having too much say over our lives (UKIP), or to try and draw attention to it being an important part of our lives in a positive sense (what Reding was trying to do).

Make no mistake about it, the UKIP estimate is complete nonsense - it's based on an idiotic approximation from a German estimate years ago - and tells us nothing at all about how important the EU actually is to our lives. It's used to try and bamboozle people into thinking that almost all policy areas have been transferred to the EU level - foreign policy, education, health, taxation, etc. Anyone with any understanding of the subject knows that isn't true and UKIP wouldn't dream of explicitly saying it, so they trot out the "75% of laws come from Brussels" line as a way to confuse people into thinking European integration has gone much further than it actually has in reality.

Dubious and misleading campaigning and Clegg was right to try and draw attention to it, but he made an absolute mess of doing so by throwing out another completely misleading figure of his own.

Anonymous said...

Clegg is a LibDem and therefore shifting between contradictory statements is in his DNA.