The Financial Times reports this morning that EU Commission President José Barroso is about to launch a major ‘deregulation campaign’. He is reported as saying that he was determined to get the Commission to embrace better regulation, to carry out more systematic impact assessments and to make more frequent use of the option of not legislating at all. “The important thing is to change the culture of the organisation”. Maybe all this won’t turn out to be the last word in sliced bread, but it is moving in the right direction. According to the FT:
Mr Barroso wants to axe a wide variety of laws designed to impose EU-wide standards, claiming that some legislation was “absurd” and brought Europe into disrepute….
Mr Barroso and Günter Verheugen, the EU enterprise commissioner, examined 200 draft laws in various stages of the Brussels decision-making process, and have so far identified 69 to be withdrawn and scrapped.
They include proposals to protect workers from solar radiation – a draft law rejected by the European parliament last week after the media claimed it would force builders and Bavarian barmaids to cover up. Mr Barroso said it had become “a joke”.
Mr Barroso is also expected to urge Commission colleagues on September 27 to withdraw proposals for EU-wide rules in areas such as food labelling, presentation and advertising, the regulation of sales promotions and weekend lorry-bans.
Laws will be axed if legislation can be better left to member states, where there is an inadequate assessment of the impact on business, or where the measure is seen as too “heavy handed”.
Obviously the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, but following on the heels of his earlier straightforward recognition that the constitution was effectively dead the signs are at least positive.