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Electronics Production | October 13, 2006

Verheugen: "EU red tape costs European business €600bn per year"

In an interview with the FT EU Enterprise Commissioner and Commission Vice-President Gunter Verheugen says that EU legislation costs European business e600bn (£405bn) a year, on the basis of a new evaluation methodology of the administrative costs of red tape.
This figure is almost twice the previous estimate of €320bn.Verheugen strongly criticised Commission officials, arguing they still believe that Europe could be united through more regulation: "There is a view that the more regulations you have, the more rules you have, the more Europe you have," he said. "I don't share that view." Verheugen admitted that his original target of simplifying 54 laws this year will not be achieved: “By the end of the year we might have 30". He hopes that his drive for better EU regulation will eventually deliver productivity gains of e150bn or a reduction of 25% in administrative costs. It's worth bearing in mind that the Commission's estimate of the benefit of the Single Market is only around e160bn. This suggests very strongly that the cost of increased regulation has outweighed the benefit of the Single Market programme, as Peter Mandelson admitted at the CBI conference back in 2004, EIPC commented in a statement.
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