Brexit is not an escape from EU regulation

bureaucracyPiet Eeckhout, Professor of EU Law at UCL, explains how the argument for a UK exit of the EU on the basis that it would reduce ‘red tape’ for businesses is a false one. He notes that to benefit fully from the EU market, which is arguably one of the UK’s most important markets, the UK would still need to implement EU regulation but in the case of Brexit, would no longer be able to influence what that regulation is.

One of the recurring themes of the Brexit debate is that the EU is said to impose an excessive regulatory burden on UK companies and on the UK economy. Remarkably, a substantial number of business people also adopt such a position. As a mere academic I am of course not in a position to disprove assessments within companies that EU membership has led to more ‘red tape’. But I do feel that some basic facts are missing from the conversation. They concern the reasons for EU regulation, and the question whether Brexit equals escape from it. Continue reading

EU Reform: What do we actually need?

Richard Corbett, a Member of the European Parliament from 1996-2009 and since 2014, explores what the term ‘EU reform’ means for the current UK government. With EU reform demands and strategies still clearly to be defined by the British Prime Minister David Cameron, UK senior officials have been working behind the scenes with their European partners to identify priorities for change. Which conclusions did they reach, and how do their suggestions link up to London’s demands?

A strange thing happened in the second half of last year. As the British Prime Minister David Cameron proclaimed to the British people that he ‘won’t take no for an answer’ when it came to EU reform, senior representatives of the UK government were working behind the scenes with other EU countries to identify which areas of EU decision-making actually needed improving — and coming to strikingly different conclusions.

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