UK businesses draw up wish list of cuts to EU ‘red tape’
Scrap proposals on shale gas, implement the law on cross-border services and revamp rules limiting employee working hours – these are some of the measures advanced by a new business report sponsored by the UK prime minister to root out red tape imposed by the European Union.
The report, which will be presented to the UK government today, outlines a new approach for the European Commission to assess whether proposals are necessary. This includes undertaking a competitiveness test and assessing the proportionality and impact of new rules.
David Cameron, the UK’s prime minister, announced after the last summit of EU leaders in June that he would commission a business taskforce to assess the impact of EU regulation on European businesses.
The taskforce includes the chief executives of retailer Marks & Spencer as well as angel investors and entrepreneurs. Cameron is expected to ask European leaders to act on the report’s conclusions at the next European Council, on 24-25 October.
The report looks at barriers to overall competitiveness, to starting a company and employing people, to expanding a business, to trading across borders and to innovation. In several areas it calls on the EU to take further legislative steps by, for example, completing the digital single market or adopting rules to cap payment card fees.
But the report also cites a number of instances where EU rules should be removed, in particular those imposing additional requirements on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). These include rules on transporting waste, the sale of shares and on the rights of agency workers and pregnant employees.
The Commission recently published a communication outlining how it would reduce the administrative burden on EU businesses. That communication and the report published by the business taskforce overlap in certain areas, on withdrawing proposal on soil protection and on access to justice in environmental matters.