EU rules account for 65% of UK law, study reveals

Business for Britain (BfB) today revealed that 64.7% of the laws in force in the UK today either originate from the European Union or are deemed to be EU influenced by the House of Commons Library.

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The survey further highlights the heavy influence Parliament in Brussels (pictured above) has on the UK business

As part of an effort to provide a reliable, independent assessment of this hotly contested calculation, BfB’s analysis combines House of Commons research and BfB’s own extensive examination of EU regulations to reveal the true amount of law driven by the EU that is in force across the UK. The percentage of laws originating from the EU is far higher than numbers previously cited by Deputy Nick Clegg, but also lower than those quoted by Nigel Farage in last year’s head to head TV debates.

Key findings:

  • Between 1993 and 2014, 64.7% of UK law can be deemed to be EU-influenced.
  • EU regulations accounted for 59.3% of all UK law.
  • UK laws implementing EU directives accounted for 5.4% of total laws in force in UK.
  • This body of legislation consists of 49,699 exclusively ‘EU’ regulations, 4,532 UK measures which implement EU directives and 29,573 UK only laws.

This large percentage is driven by EU regulations. This is important because EU regulations are transposed into national law without passing through Parliament. Hence, they do not appear in studies by the House of Commons Library such as the most recent, placing the proportion of EU legislation at just 13.3%

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The financial crisis in Greece has played a big part in UK skepticism over European inclusion

Analysis of the EU’s influence on British law has too often been hijacked for political purposes, leading to disputes over the true number. This study acknowledges that not every EU regulation will impact Britain such as rules on olive and tobacco growing, but the rules remain in force across the UK and many UK laws will impact businesses differently i.e food hygiene laws not affecting a hairdresser.

In his Bloomberg speech in 2013, the Prime Minister questioned whether the ‘balance was right where the European Union has legislated including on the environment, social affairs and crime’ and highlighted it was “neither right nor necessary to claim that the integrity of the single market, or full membership of the European Union requires the working hours of British hospital doctors to be set in Brussels irrespective of the views of British parliamentarians and practitioners.”

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Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of Business for Britain, said, “Bureaucratic EU rules unnecessarily effect our daily lives far too often. The Commission and European Parliament almost always see regulation as the answer to every problem the EU faces, regardless of the impact on business and our economic competitiveness. Access to the Single Market should not come at the cost of having two thirds of our laws being decided by the EU. There must be a significant reduction in the amount and scope of EU legislation and powers over certain policy areas should be given back to Parliament so decisions are made far closer to the British people.”

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