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17/06/2014 - European trade unions today launched strong criticisms of the European Commission’s ‘better regulation’ plans – accusing the EU executive of putting “the supposed needs of business above all others”. 

A declaration adopted today by national trade union leaders at a meeting of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), says “legislation should have a societal benefit” and “the needs of businesses do not come above those of workers or, for example, the environment.”
It goes on to say “The ETUC believes that proposing a ‘lighter regime’ for SMEs and an ‘outright exemption for micro-businesses’ undermines the basic principle of EU legislation applying equally to all.”

85% of all employment is in SMEs.
Other points made by the ETUC include

  • By asking member states not go beyond what is ‘necessary’ when they implement EU legislation, the Commission is turning what are often ‘minimum standards’ into ‘maximum standards’.
  • ‘Better regulation’ erects new barriers to the legislative procedure: a major increase in impact assessments and public consultations, establishing a “Regulatory Scrutiny Board” and a “REFIT stakeholder platform” and proposing ‘independent’ panels for impact assessments in each EU institution.
  • The European Commission’s request that the European Parliament and Council carry out an impact assessment if they significantly change Commission proposals is “a blatant attempt to make it more difficult for the EU’s democratically elected institutions”.

Bernadette Ségol, General Secretary of the ETUC, said “Trade unions support better regulation, but what the European Commission proposes is more bureaucracy and undermines the principle that EU law applies equally to all. It will not bring better regulation, it will slow down social progress. It has already been used to delay the protection of workers from cancer-causing chemicals.”
“Euro-scepticism is on the rise. Making a fetish of competitiveness, and putting the supposed interests of business above those of working people is not a winning strategy for convincing citizens that the EU is a good thing.”   
Trade union leaders took part in a photo action today to demonstrate their concerns about so-called ‘better regulation’ - see