Small Businesses are being put at risk through excessive EU over-regulation, senior EU Commissioners were forced to admit yesterday after questioning by Euro MP David Campbell Bannerman at a high level seminar.
Under questioning from the MEP, the Euro Director for trade, Ms Signe Ratso, admitted there is a danger that EU over regulation could put European companies at a disadvantage when trying to win business against non-EU companies, particularly in developing nations. Deputy Director General Mr Crespo also admitted to Mr Campbell Bannerman that the EU was over-regulated, and claimed that there would be a 25% cut in overregulation by 2012.
In response to the admission, Mr Campbell Bannerman (an Eastern Counties Euro-MP) said: “It is clear that EU over-regulation is bad for British business.
“Independent studies have put the cost of the 100,000 plus EU directives and regulations at between 4% and 10% of the UK’s GDP.
“Business leaders have told me their companies are being hamstrung by overregulation. The most recent person to express the view that the EU is heavily over-regulated was the Chairman of banking giant HSBC, Douglas Flint, in response to my questioning at a recent EU briefing.
“Although there were assurances that the EU will cut bureaucracy by 41bn Euros of a claimed EU estimate of only 140 billion Euros, it is nowhere near enough.
“According to the former EU Competition Commissioner Verheugen, overregulation costs businesses in the EU a staggering 600bn Euros per year.
“Over regulation is killing SMEs on a daily basis.”
One idea floated at the seminar was the use by SMEs of the ‘Enterprise Europe Network’, a new pan European organisation designed to make it easier for companies to export.
Mr Campbell Bannerman added: “I oppose this European Enterprise Network strongly, and even the expert Professor Smallbone of Kingston University had major doubts about it. It seems to suggest UK companies would have to follow EU rules and work with other EU companies in clusters. It is too prescriptive, and our economy is more flexible and less taxed than Continental equivalents – it could destroy SMEs, not help them.
“The EU’s share of the world’s GDP is set to decline to 15% in 2020 from 36% in 1980, therefore it is a shrinking market for UK companies, who would be better-off setting their sights further afield.”
“If British businesses want to develop, we ought to be looking to make more alliances outside of the EU rather than pursue closer ties within the EU. Trade with the EU is only 10% of the UK economy, we need to think globally not regionally.
Further info: Oliver Adam 07788 55 8041