We are nearing the 23rd of June now so I thought I would start to bring things together. There is a lot of talk about how much influence the EU has over our laws.
Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage famously contradicted each other in a televised debate
Farage quoted former European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding, that 75% of UK law originates from Brussels. In last nights debate he said it was 66%.
Clegg claimed in the TV debates in the run-up to the EU elections that only 7% of British laws came from the continent. Take your pick.
Of course you can have a plethora of relatively minor laws concerning the imports of a variety of rare species and just one quite important law concerning the age at which pensions might be paid, so that the actual number of laws is relatively unimportant.
A much better quide is which areas of legislation are covered by the EU and which are not.
Free trade – The EU is a trade bloc which means there are no quotas or tariffs for companies exporting goods and services within the EU
Common commercial policy – these are rules put in place to protect EU businesses using things like tariffs, subsides and quotas on imports from outside the eurozone.
Those are essentially extra payments or restrictions.
EU competition law – this means that if you have a company you should have the opportunity to do business across the EU.
The law is designed to stop bigger firms abusing their power by setting up cartels and monopolies.
The internal market – the single market means UK citizens are free to move, live, study and trade anywhere within the EU.
This also affects you when you go on holiday within the European Union because there are no customs limits.
There are also no border controls across most of the EU either – the UK is one exception to that rule.
Trans-European networks – many areas of Europe have benefited from this policy with new roads and transport networks designed to make it easier for the different countries to transport goods and services across the EU.
Energy – this is a common policy for European energy needs and proposals for making energy greener.
It also means when you sell or rent a property you have to provide a home energy performance rating chart such as an energy efficiency rating.
EU energy labels have also been introduced on all electrical goods like washing machines and even light bulbs to try to make us all more aware of what energy we’re using.
Area of freedom, security and justice – this is designed to make it easier for police across the EU to cooperate but also to ensure fair treatment in different judicial systems for all EU citizens.
There is a European arrest warrant that means you can be arrested anywhere in the EU for more serious crimes committed in another EU country.
Common fisheries policy – every EU state must stick to rules on fishing set by Europe.
This affects fishermen in the UK, who are only allowed to fish for certain types of fish at certain times of the year to conserve stocks.
There are also understandings on public health, the environment, consumer protection, transport, social policy, plus economic, social and territorial cohesion.
There are common foreign, security and defence policies which run alongside the policies of member states although there is no European army or single European foreign policy.
So the EU does affect a lot of areas, however in terms of government spending and in terms of what you and I would most likely think to be the priorities then the EU has no influence. It does not make laws in the following areas. In some of these areas the EU may express guide lines and suggest policy aspirations.. but no legislation.
The EU does not control how individual states raise their taxes.
The EU does not determine our health care.
The EU has no influence on our defence.
The EU is not responsible for our Education system.
The EU does not determine what we spend on welfare or pensions.
The EU does not exert any control over our police, civil protection or disaster prevention.
The EU does not control any of our sports arrangements
And there is more, but it is getting more and more of a minor in importance.
To give you an idea of the relative importance of these different areas have a look at this chart.
To see other posts about our EU membership ( there are obviously 51 others, this being number 52) click EU membership summary And if you think any of them particularly relevant then please feel free to reblog or share them.