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Book of the Month, The Brussels Diary: We're All Citizens of Europe Edition

Cover of  by Lee Rotherham

Lee Rotherham, who has done a great deal of work with the Taxpayers' Alliance, has recently published a book The EU in a Nutshell.

My boss, Roger Helmer, is a huge fan of Lee's and my own limited dealings with Lee have been extremely pleasant. The EU in a Nutshell breaks down the intricacies of the European Institutions and could teach a great deal to most Eurocrats.

During the last Strasbourg session Roger spoke for a minute and a half on the future of the Single Market Act. Understandably, he toned down the speech that I wrote but gave a cracking statement that the "Single Market" is more a bureaucratic mess of a customs union than it is a free trade agreement.

Most Conservatives who support the EU use the Single Market Act (SMA) as a reason for doing so; "It is good for trade," they say, "we need the EU for the Common Market". Malcolm Harbour MEP, a Conservative Europhile, sent a blue card intervention to dispute Roger's claims that EU regulation, part of the SMA, is responsible for a horrendous amount of regulation itself.

In order to refute this I got in touch with Lee who was kind enough to forward a few pages of his book. They were amusing, informative and sort of scary in their content.

Estimates of the regulatory burden coming straight from Brussels ranges from as low as nine percent to as high as 84 percent, with the German Federal Department of Justice quoting 80 percent.

A study by Open Europe shows that while around 50 percent of regulations come from Brussels, EU regulation costs over £100 billion. So much for a free trade agreement.

I look forward to reading the rest of Lee's book when I finally make it back to England next week and suggest that readers of this column buy a copy right now.

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