Brown attacks EU red tape

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The Independent Online

Gordon Brown will tomorrow announce he has struck a deal with his counterparts in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg to launch a wide-ranging attack on red tape in the European Union.

The plan covers the current Irish presidency of the EU and the subsequent three, and will bring a review of new and existing EU regulations. These will be assessed using a "three litmus test". Do they deter jobs? Do they increase costs? Are they really necessary? Mr Brown hopes that by the end of the fourth presidency, the British one, these tests will become a permanent feature in the European Commission.

To tie in with the plan, a summit will also take place in Dublin later this year - involving Mr Brown, Charlie McCreevy, the Irish finance minister and current president of the EU, Unilever chairman Niall Fitzgerald and Douglas Daft, chairman of Coca-Cola - with the aim of improving transatlantic trade.

The plan coincides with the Chancellor's Advancing Enterprise conference, taking place tomorrow in London, where speakers as diverse as Microsoft's Bill Gates and Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, will make presentations.

It also fits in with the speech given on Friday night by Mr Brown's chief economic adviser, Ed Balls. This called for reform of the Growth and Stability Pact which governs counties in the European Monetary Union.

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