Mon 5 May 2008
"Europe's power is easy to miss. Like an 'invisible hand', it operates through the shell of traditional political structures. The British House of Commons, British law courts, and British civil servants are still here, but they have all become agents of the European Union implementing European law. This is no accident.
By creating common standards that are implemented through national institutions, Europe can take over countries without necessarily becoming a target for hostility… Europe's invisibility allows it to spread its influence without provocation."
− Pro-euro author Mark Leonard, President of the European Council on Foreign Relations
Download the full report here
Open Europe Analyst Lorraine Mullally said:
“The Lisbon Treaty further reduces Britain’s ability to block EU legislation we don’t want. It would allow the EU to pass more measures which affect people’s day-to-day lives.
For example, the end of the veto over energy would let the EU pass its Oil Stocks Directive, which would cost a household of four £130 a year.
It would mean, as the Government admits, that many more asylum cases will be decided by the European Court of Justice, rather than in Britain.”
“The truth is that the EU’s critics and the media have failed to explain just how much power the EU really has.”
Open Europe’s new study reviews a selection of the everyday effects of EU law. It is by no means an exhaustive list:
Household: The cost of these to UK households will be around £337 million a year.
Fortnightly bin collections: In order to meet the regulations, and avoid EU fines, around 40% of local authorities in England have adopted an ‘alternateweekly collection’ system whereby waste is collected one week and recyclables the
At the beginning of 2008 the UK’s energy regulator Ofgem said
1. environmental policies were adding £60 a year to the cost of energy bills, attributing more than half of that - £31 – to the EU’s Emissions.
Trading Scheme. It said, “The EU’s ETS, which puts a price on pollution emitted by electricity generators and heavy industry, is increasing generation costs which feeds through to customers. The second phase of the scheme, which began in 2008, has increased the price of carbon which in turn increases electricity prices.” Research firm Heren Energy estimated that the increase in the price of carbon emissions permits from almost nothing in the first phase of the ETS, to around £17.50 per tonne of carbon dioxide in the second phase, has added almost 17 percent onto the wholesale price of electricity. These costs are completely unnecessary – the ETS has completely failed in its central aim by doing nothing to bring down carbon emissions.
As part of the EU’s 2020 renewable energy target, the Commission has given the UK a target of
2. achieving 15% of overall energy use from renewables. This is a sevenfold increase on current levels. It would mean between 30 and 40% of electricity production would need to come from renewables. Open Europe has estimated that meeting the EU renewable target will cost the average family of four £750 per year in higher energy prices.
The EU also has plans to implement an EU energy policy which would force the UK to
3. increase its oil reserves at an estimated cost of £6 billion to the industry. If this proposal goes through – which will be more likely if the revised EU Constitution comes into force – households would face even higher fuel bills. It would cost the average household of four between £120 and £130.
Soaring water bills. In 2004, the UK’s water regulator Ofwat imposed a five-year plan to increase average bills by 18% above inflation between 2005 and 2010. According to the Sunday Times reporting at the time, “Most of the increase is being attributed to EU requirements for companies to invest billions of pounds in cleaning up beaches and drinking water and improving the processing of sewage.
It is not clear that Ofwat has been able to maintain a regime in which price increases are matched by benefits that are clear and understood by consumers.
Higher food prices.
Through a combination of tariffs on food imports from outside the EU, in addition to subsidies given to farmers and companies through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the EU contributes to the high price of many of our basic groceries and clothes. For example, the EU taxes imports of lamb at 173%, beef at 149% and bananas at
118%. A study by Oxford Economics in 2005 concluded that the average family of four would be £1,500 a year better off if the EU got rid of its tariffs and liberalised trade with its partners.
Fewer and more expensive fish; Extinction of swathes of vegetable varieties.
Biofuel demand. Open Europe calculates that by 2020 the average family of four in the UK can expect, in today’s prices, a rise in annual food expenditure of between £200 (€260) and £260 (€340) as a result of worldwide biofuel demand. Of this, the EU would be responsible for £50 – 65 (€65 – 85).
More expensive electrical products
1. For example, the EU currently imposes a 66.1% tariff on low-energy light bulbs from China, Vietnam, Pakistan and the Philippines. A single energy efficient light bulb equivalent to 60 watts can cost as much as £4, but without the antidumping duty and the VAT, the price would be 66p
2. More than six million electrical items are thrown away in the UK every year, or 1.2 million tonnes. Orgalime, a group representing 100,000 machinery and electronics companies, estimated in 2002 that the changes would cost industry more than €7.5bn (£4.7bn).Technology analysts Gartner predicted in a 2005 research report that the changes could add up to £33 on to the price of a PC.
However the recycling costs are met, it seems the changes will deliver a stealth tax windfall to the Government. For
consumers will inevitably be paying more for electrical goods from next summer, so driving a rise in VAT income to the Treasury.”
New Royal Mail pricing rules. New rules introduced by Royal Mail in August 2006 called “Pricing in Proportion” require post items to be priced by size as well as weight. EU legislation designed to harmonise postal services lie behind the new rules - In reference to 2006, Royal Mail state: “This was the year the UK postal industry changed forever. The first, full year of competition in the UK mail market saw major rival companies fighting to take business from Royal Mail… Royal Mail is losing 40% of bulk business mail to rival postal operators.” The Post Office is given Government money (the Social Network Payment) amounting
to £150m per annum. However, in the financial year ending April 2007, the Post Office suffered an underlying loss of £174m. But the Government’s freedom of action in this area is restricted as the level of subsidy that can legally be given to the Post Office is capped under EU state aid rules, Royal Mail say, “Even with this added Government revenue, which Post Office Limited has warmly welcomed, losses at the current level are clearly unsustainable.” Post office closures.
Bureaucracy at the bank. Opening a bank account in the UK has become more and more difficult, because of EU laws designed to prevent money laundering
In addition to this, EU Directives regulating the financial services sector have led to the customer being bombarded with excess and often unwanted information. The Association of British Insurers estimates the direct and indirect cost to the consumer of complying with these regulations at £400m a year.
Transport. EU Directive 91/439/EC required all driving licences issued by the UK after July 2001 to be in card format and to contain the licence holder’s image and signature and the EU flag. Photocard licences began to replace paper licences in 1998. Because of the introduction of the photo, drivers must renew their photocards every 10 years from 2008.
End of many rural bus routes; Creation of Railtrack; Harder and more expensive motorcycle tests;
"Dear goose, come and show no fear.
We are both Europeans, my dear".
Under EU law, it is impossible for the Government to deport EU nationals just because they have committed a crime.
The EU’s Free Movement Directive, (2004/58/EC) which came into force in the UK in May 2006, explicitly rules this out. It
says that member states may only deport EU citizens on grounds of “serious” or “imperative” public security. It states that “Expulsion orders may not be issued by the host Member State as a penalty or legal consequence of a custodial penalty.” It states
that “An expulsion decision may not be taken against Union citizens... if they have resided in the host Member State for the previous ten years”. The directive also stops criminal convictions being used as grounds to deny entry unless there are serious fears for public safety.”
Banning caps on foreign football players, higher wages, higher prices for fans. In 1995 the European Court of Justice ruled it illegal for domestic football teams in EU member states, and also UEFA, to impose quotas on foreign players to the extent that they discriminated against nationals of EU states.
Television advertising rules. A series of EU directives since 1989 (89/552/EEC) govern the amount and timing of advertising allowed on the television. A new ‘Television without Frontiers’ directive passed in November 2007 will cut the minimum amount of time between each commercial break from 45 minutes currently to 30 minutes for films, children’s and information shows. There is a limit of 12 minutes of advertising per hour, but the current limit of 3 hours per day will be scrapped with the new legislation.
Banning workers from earning higher wages instead of taking holidays. Under the EU’s Working Time rules (Directive 93/104/EC) and in accordance with a ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2006, employers in the UK are now banned from offering workers the option of earning higher wages instead of taking paid holidays
The run on Northern Rock. The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, has blamed the EU Market Abuse Directive, or MAD (2003/6/EC), which governs rules on financial transparency, for his inability to keep the Northern Rock bail-out secret. This sparked the run on the bank in 2007. King told MPs that he had wanted to put together a secret rescue package for Northern Rock - "in the way we would have done in the 1990s" - but was advised that this was not possible under the 2005 Market
Comment: This bank run brought Rothschild and his bankers 50 Milliarden pounds in through the purchase of the emptied bank by the British Government at the cost of the British tax payers!!!
Doctors now work 6,000-10,000 hours before qualifying as a consultant, whereas in the past they would have completed between 30,000-40,000 hours.
The EU’s Working Time Directive limits the number of hours trainee doctors can work to 58 hours a week.This will be cut even further to 48 hours a week by August 2009. A review of the change published in the British Medical Journal said that many surgeons were taking up consultant posts without basic skills. " Higher costs for the NHS. According to rulings by the European Court of Justice, oncall time, when doctors are required to be resident at the work place, also must count
as working time. Most countries are in breach of the rulings, but the British Government argues that it follows them. Employing extra doctors and nurses to comply with the two European court judgments costs the NHS £250m a year.
Comment: The EU is an expensive acquaintance. To the expenses mentioned here come the tremendous expenses for the EU-induced immigration. According to the governmental Welfare Commission Dec. 2005, immigrants from just the heaviest countries cost us at least 50 billion kroner a year or about 10% of the state budget. On a total the sum is very much higher. And in Sweden an expert has calculated a figure of 30% of the state budget for immigrants!!
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