EU announces a 'bonfire of the red tape'

In an unprecedented initiative, the Commission named a host of draft laws which it intended to scrap following a comprehensive review. The announcement reveals the extent to which the tide has turned in Brussels since the heyday of Jacques Delors.

The "bonfire of the directives" means the end of proposals covering everything from measures for the recovery of cod and hake stocks to rules to improve the production and marketing of honey.

The European Industry Commissioner, Günter Verheugen, said he screened 183 Bills and ended up axing 68 of them, adding: "This is how we will be able to cut red tape and ensure we alleviate the burden on small and medium-sized enterprises, and the economy at large. Europe really means business. We all want better regulation and we all want better legislation."

Among the rules scrapped are those planned for online sales promotions, alcoholic drink labels and flight attendant qualifications. Others include rules on local lorry restrictions and coffee package sizes.

Behind the measure lies a political message from a Commission alarmed by its image. For years, critics attacked the bureaucracy in Brussels for meddling in what the former British foreign secretary Lord Hurd called the "nooks and crannies" of national life.

The European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, said: "We have looked at everything on the table and cleared away what we don't need. EU regulation makes sense where it adds value. But where it doesn't, we'll scrap it."

Next month, the Commission, which drafts EU laws and ensures governments enact them, will start simplifying the 80,000 existing EU laws. Some overlapping laws will be brought together or repealed. The Commission is appealing to EU governments, businesses and citizens to help by identifying laws that amount to over-regulation, in a consultation exercise using the internet.

When he took office a year ago, Mr Barroso said that while drafting any legislation the Commission would consider the impact it would have on businesses and citizens.

Some Bills will be amended. A proposal designed to protect workers from optical radiation will no longer cover exposure to sunlight. There had been claims that it would force bricklayers to wear T-shirts and barmaids to cover up in beer gardens.

Moves to extend new rights to temporary workers will also be rethought. But the initiative, backed strongly by the British Government and welcomed by business, has alarmed European trade unions and prompted opposition from some MEPs. Monica Frassoni, a leading Green MEP, argued: "There may be certain directives that are not terribly important but there are other very significant political items here."

Timothy Kirkhope, leader of the UK's Conservative MEPs, said yesterday: "The door for reform is at last ajar, now we need to blast it wide open. What the EU needs urgently, if new jobs are to be created and the ever growing dole queues are to be cut, is a bold and sustained attack on existing legislation."

Measures to be withdrawn

* Amended directive on labelling, which would tighten rules on labelling of drinks with more than 1.2 per cent alcohol.

* Proposed directive on weekend bans for lorries, would have clarified rules on restrictions on key strategic routes across Europe.

* Proposed directive on safety, which would harmonise professional requirements for civil airline cabin crews.

* Proposed directive to standardise pack sizes for coffee.

* Proposed regulation to allow associations and foundations to operate across the EU.

* Proposed measure to improve honey production.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Facilities Manager is required to join the m...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Mobile - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Unified - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Recruitment Genius: Trade Sales Consultant - Furniture

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a besp...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum