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Business profits before people - the EU and future deregulation
#1
One would've thought that a common-sense middle ground might have been the solution. But no. We've seen what deregulations brings in the post Thatcher era, and it ain't good.

Quote:Bonfire of red tape proposed in 'bid to keep Britain in EU'

Guardian told that Edmund Stoiber's proposals are partly aimed at keeping the UK part of the European Union

[Image: Edmund-Stoiber-011.jpg]
Edmund Stoiber's recommendations were reported to be partly aimed at keeping Britain in the EU. Photograph: Christof Stache/AP

A controversial demand for a new deregulation spree shredding the rules for doing business in the European Union is to be unveiled on Tuesday in Brussels.
Edmund Stoiber, the former leader of Bavaria, will propose that all small and medium sized enterprises enjoy virtually blanket exemption from the rules governing business practices.
His proposal for a "bonfire of red tape" has an explicitly political agenda, aimed at reversing public perceptions of Brussels as a "bureaucratic monster".
British officials are said to be delighted with the Stoiber report and panel participants said that Michael Gibbons, chair of the UK's regulatory policy committee, played an influential part in directing Stoiber's thinking.
Stoiber said: "Europe-wide opinion polls regularly indicate that a quarter of respondents perceive the EU as first and foremost a bureaucracy. More and more detailed rules which affect the daily life of citizens have tarnished the image of the EU in the public opinion and resulted in [it] being regarded as a bureaucratic monster."
The commission should exempt all micro businesses and SMEs from EU obligations as far as was possible and appropriate, taking into account the political objectives of the proposed legislation, the Stoiber paper says.
Despite being supposed beneficiaries, Europe's small businesses have dismissed the raft of deregulation measures as "nonsense". The SME lobby has long made clear its opposition to exemptions.
"It makes no sense. It sounds good, but it's pure populism," said Luc Hendrickx, director of enterprise policy at UEAPME, a trade association representing 12m small firms in Europe employing 55 million people. "We don't want exemptions, we don't want to be treated as second-class enterprises. What's the point in any legislation if you're exempting 99%? It's nonsense, a purely political declaration."
Two participants said that Stoiber had openly if privately told the panel that his recommendations were partly aimed at keeping Britain in the EU. "The final paper was an attempt to please the British to keep them on board within the EU," said Heidi Roenne-Moeller, a panel participant from Denmark's Confederation of Professionals.
The Stoiber recommendations cap seven years of EU taxpayer-funded deliberations by his panel of 15 experts, four of whom have dissociated themselves from the findings and strongly oppose them. They represent consumer rights bodies, health and environmental organisations, and trade unions.
The report claims that adopting the proposals as well as deregulation moves already implemented would save a potential €41bn (£32bn). But it also admits the figures are guesstimates as there is little quantifiable data from the member states.
"The figures are all hypothetical. I raised this issue all the time," said Roenne-Moeller.
Pieter Depous, policy director for the European Environmental Bureau, said: "The target to reduce regulatory and compliance costs, no matter what, completely contradicts the EU's principle of polluter pays' which by definition leads to an increase in regulatory costs for someone at some time. If you take the Stoiber group recommendations to their logical end, it would spell the end of environmental protection and policy-making in the EU."
A European commission survey last year identified laws covering health and safety at work, environmental waste, limits on working hours, and product safety labelling, among the top 10 most burdensome legislative acts for SMEs in Europe. The panel's dissidents and other critics fear these areas will be the focus of the cost-cutting exercise.
"We dismiss cutting regulations if it ends up as a one-sided attempt to cut costs for businesses. Such an approach fails to recognise the cost to society of not regulating," said Monique Goyens, director-general of the European Consumer Organisation.
Gibbons strongly defended the proposals, arguing that often voluntary arrangements and codes of practice were more effective and less burdensome than binding rules. "Regulation is not cost free. It takes a lot of time and money. Perhaps there are more flexible and cheaper ways. Some policy aims might be delivered more flexibly through voluntary measures."
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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