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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Clueless II

During a debate on a different topic in the Commons yesterday our Europe Minister Caroline made a very bold claim indeed. She said:

"Over the past few years, we have seen some huge reductions in regulation in the European Union."

Can she - can anybody - back that up with any proof? Probably not, because the evidence would suggest that it simply isn't true.

Here at Open Europe we spent an arduous 6 months trawling painstakingly through more than 2,000 government impact assessments dating since 1998 to get a grip on the number of regulations, and the proportion and cost of those coming from the EU. We also took a long, hard look at the EU's so-called 'Better Regulation Agenda', and found that what small efforts had been made to scale back the mountains of existing legislation, these had been swamped by the tsunami of new regulations being introduced every year.

In fact, since the Commission launched its ‘Better Regulation Agenda’ in 2005, the annual cost of EU legislation across the bloc has gone from €108 billion to over €161 billion – an increase of 50%.
















To add a couple of other relevant factoids:

- In 2008 alone the cost of regulation for the EU-27 was €269.5 billion. This is up from €229.6 billion in 2007 and €183.4 billion in 2006.

- Between 1995 and 2004 almost 11,000 new legal acts were added to the acquis communautaire.

- Overall, the cost of EU legislation has gone up steadily year-on-year over the past decade. In
2008 alone, EU legislation dating from 1998 cost the UK economy £18.5 billion – up from £12.2
billion in 2005.

These are figures which even the Commission's own Director for Better Regulation, Programming and Impact Assessment Marianne Klingbeil did not argue with at an event on this subject organised by Open Europe in Brussels this week.

So where on earth does Flint get the idea that there have been "huge" reductions in regulation?

In our report we make several proposals for reform, but this government has no chance of reducing the burden of regulation if it won't face up to the problem in the first place.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

50 to 60 years ago, Ministers would honourably resign when they at best had made a mistake of this magnitude when reporting to Parliament, or at worst were caught having told deliberate untruths! Nowadays, it seems anything goes if you are a minister & say something as patently wrong as this in Parliament - the equivalent of a court.

Similarly, if as a minister you fiddle your parliamentary expenses or tax returns, or conceal the receipt of campaign funds that for one reason or another are ineligible, that no longer seems enough to unseat you. But if an ordinary citizen lies under oath, the punishment is rightly severe.

What a contrast! What hypocrisy! And what a lamentable shower this Labour government is!

Anonymous said...

50 to 60 years ago, Ministers would honourably resign when they at best had made a mistake of this magnitude when reporting to Parliament, or at worst were caught having told deliberate untruths! Nowadays, it seems anything goes if you are a minister & say something as patently wrong as this in Parliament - the equivalent of a court.

Similarly, if as a minister you fiddle your parliamentary expenses or tax returns, or conceal the receipt of campaign funds that for one reason or another are ineligible, that no longer seems enough to unseat you. But if an ordinary citizen lies under oath, the punishment is rightly severe.

What a contrast! What hypocrisy! And what a lamentable shower this Labour government is!