Monday, February 25, 2008

The EU Regulatory Burden

A recent report shows the soaring costs to the UK from over-regulation, with 2/3rds of it imposed or driven by the EU. In the last year alone, the cost of complying with new regulations rose an additional £10 billion ($20 billion). And the EU is just getting started.


I blogged here of the tremendous costs that EU membership is imposing on the people of Britain. One portion of that bill is the direct and indirect cost of EU regulaitons.

The technocrats in Brussels are hardly evil people. But they suffer under the leftist's delusion that the answer to problems is ever more government regulation. Nirvana is possible with just that next bit of legislation. And to call some of it simply over-regulation would be too kind, such as the recent passage of legislation that will reduce Britain's carbon footprint by less than two hundreths of one percent, but will cost UK businesses £250 million pounds in lost business.

Combine that mindset with an EU government where democracy is minimized in a government form that provides no checks and balances, no way for any party to review the impact of new regulations once they are imposed by the technocracy, and you have a recipe for catastrophic over-regulation. As Der Spiegel put it, the EU is attempting to "perfect a system of total control."

This from Christopher Booker at the Telegraph:

A shock-horror report in last week's Sunday Times, based on the latest annual "barometer" from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), showed that the cost of new regulations to UK businesses, according to Government figures, had soared last year by a record £10 billion.

Their total cost since 1998 is a staggering £66 billion. . . .

. . . [T]he origin of these regulations were clearly apportioned between the EU and our own Government. And by far the most costly examples, such as the regulations on working time (£16 billion), vehicle emissions (£9 billion) and data protection (£7 billion), all originated from Brussels.

Of the top 10, eight were based on EU directives and the remaining two both had a strong EU dimension. These 10 alone imposed a total cost of £43 billion. . . .

Read the article.

The EU is not completely out of touch. They have, of late, decided to withhold imposing some of the more economy busting and questionable regulations, even after they have been rubber-stamped by the European Parliament. That said, but for a few such acts, the regulatory burden combines with mismanagement and grows largely unabated. One wonders which EU member state will be crushed under the burden first. I don't know, but I do know that in the UK, the pinch is just really starting to be felt.

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