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Archive for ‘Euromyths’

Express wrong to call green cars “waste” and wrong to suggest EU is prioritising them above terrorism

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
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Rating: 4.5/5 (15 votes cast)

The Daily Express complains that the latest EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation work programme includes £112 million for electric cars. Electric cars can make an important contribution to cutting air pollution, which is estimated to cause 400 000 premature deaths in Europe every year.

So asserting that investing money in this area is “splurging members’ cash on waste” is, to put it mildly, ill-informed.

The Express compares funding for high-tech industrial research with “just £41m spent researching terrorism” and uses this to suggest to readers that the EU is somehow neglecting to take action on terrorism. This is a false comparison and a cynical and misleading conclusion to draw from it.

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Medical devices: Daily Mail misrepresents EU system and fails to mention reforms

Monday, July 4th, 2016
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Rating: 4.3/5 (43 votes cast)

An article on medical devices – such as implants and artificial hips – published in Daily Mail on 29 June contains serious inaccuracies and leaves out crucial points. In particular, it misrepresents the current system for the approval of such devices and neglects to point out that the EU has taken a series of important steps to strengthen that system.

Background

According to the article, “Brussels” and the European Commission approve unsafe high-risk medical devices on the EU market.

This is not the case.

Under EU legislation, independent third-party organisations (Notified Bodies) check and scrutinise medical devices before their CE certification and possible placing on the market. These Notified Bodies are designated and monitored by national authorities, not by “Brussels”.

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Express’s “EU £2600 tax bombshell” story completely wrong

Monday, June 20th, 2016
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Rating: 4.5/5 (53 votes cast)

Changes to EU VAT rules require a unanimous agreement by all Member States. That is written in black and white in the EU Treaties, which set out and limit the powers the EU has – and also make very clear that the final say on all big political decisions rests with elected ministers and MEPs, not “Brussels” or “faceless bureaucrats”.

The Treaties themselves are drawn up by – and can only be changed by – unanimous agreement of the Member States.

In other words the UK has a veto both on any changes to VAT rules AND on any changes to the way the EU takes decisions in that area.

So despite the various fulminations quoted in the article, the suggestion in the Daily Express on 20 June that “Brussels” could force the UK to raise VAT rates and cause “a £2600 tax bombshell” is completely factually wrong.

Where there IS agreement that the rules will change is that the possibility to zero rate sanitary products will be introduced- EU leaders made that clear at their summit on 17-18 March.

The rationale for having such VAT rules – agreed by all Member States – is that rates that differed too widely within the single market would increase red tape and costs for business and mean consumers paying more for goods and services.

The EU is investing billions in tackling cancer – not denying treatment

Thursday, June 9th, 2016
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Rating: 4.4/5 (33 votes cast)

Summary

A number of media articles have claimed that “EU red tape” is denying cancer patients access to new treatments.

This is not the case.

Various EU initiatives, backed by billions of euros from the EU budget, encourage Europe’s top scientists, businesses large and small and leading medical professionals to get new drugs to patients as rapidly and safely as possible.

And Europe-wide authorisation by the European Medicines Agency means more people get access to more medicines more quickly than they could if each country authorised them separately.

Details

Delivering new drugs to patients is a multi-stage process.

First, they need to be developed from scratch.

The European Commission has invested about €2.1 billion in cancer research projects since 2007. Some outstanding examples are described in simple terms here. The pace is likely to increase under the 2014-2020 Horizon 2020 programme, which is about 35% larger than its 2007-13 predecessor known as FP7.

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“Bailouts”,EU budget ceilings and “backlogs” clarified

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
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Rating: 4.2/5 (32 votes cast)

The UK will not, whatever the circumstances, be called upon by the EU to supply emergency (“bail out”) funding to Eurozone countries. This is clear in the agreement reached between David Cameron and all the other EU leaders in February, which has the status of international law.*

Neither can the EU budget be increased without the UK’s consent beyond the ceilings Member States, including the UK, agreed unanimously for the 2014-2020 period. Any increase in those ceilings requires according to the EU Treaties a unanimous vote – in other words the UK has a veto which could only be altered by a change in the Treaties, something the UK could also veto.

Finally, reports of a £19.4 billion “black hole” in the EU budget are mistaken. There was a backlog in payments – partly the result of technical issues arising in the transition from one seven-year budget period (2007-13) to the next (2014-20) – but much of it was already eliminated in 2015 and it is expected to be down to EUR 2bn by the end of this year, at zero additional cost to Member States beyond their scheduled budget contributions.

This amounts to a return to normal, given that in practice the backlog represents the claims for payment that come in towards the end of one financial year but are paid in the next financial year. As all claims need to be properly checked and this takes time, it is inevitable that some claims will fall into this category.

Background

The EU budget is just under €150 bn per year for the period 2014-2020. This represents about 1 % of the annual wealth produced in the EU and 2% of total public expenditure across Europe, the other 98% of which is spent by national, regional and local governments.

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EU state aid rules do not slow down urban broadband

Friday, May 20th, 2016
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Rating: 4.0/5 (28 votes cast)

In an article “EU red tape leaves urban homes in internet slow lane” published on 18 May, the Daily Telegraph slams EU “red tape” for hampering UK Government efforts to rollout high-speed broadband in urban areas that don’t have it yet. The article implies that EU state aid rules prevent public subsidies for such rollout.

This is untrue.

In fact, the European Commission’s 2013 Broadband Guidelines for state aid explain how state aid rules apply to the rollout of fast broadband and how investment can be made more quickly.

In 2012 the Commission approved the previous National Broadband Scheme for the UK for rural areas . In May 2016 the Commission endorsed the new UK broadband scheme for 2016-2020 within a month of its notification by the UK authorities.

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EC has not decided to regulate toasters or kettles – and could not decide alone anyway

Friday, May 13th, 2016
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Rating: 4.0/5 (52 votes cast)

EU ecodesign policy is in the news again.

This time the headlines are all about toasters and kettles, rather than vacuum cleaners, on which we tidied up the facts on this site in 2014.

No new regulation without watertight science

No decision has been taken – or is scheduled – to put forward new rules for kettles or toasters.

The European Commission is determined to make sure ecodesign policy is implemented in the least intrusive way possible, while delivering maximum energy savings.

So it will not bring forward proposals that would stop even the most energy-guzzling kettles or toasters from being sold unless backed by watertight scientific analysis that there would be significant benefits and no alternative way of achieving similar or better results.

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EU funding is supporting – not stopping – regeneration of Nottingham’s Sneinton market

Friday, May 13th, 2016
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Rating: 4.2/5 (28 votes cast)

Articles in the Daily Mail, The Sun and Nottingham Post this week are inaccurate in suggesting that the refurbished Sneinton Market in Nottingham, which benefitted from EU funds, only has three traders out of 46 because of “EU rules restricting the stalls from having tills”.

The facts

The rules for the current use of the units were not imposed by the EU.

There are no EU rules which prevent the use of tills on market stalls, either in general or in projects receiving EU funding.

The 46 units in question in Nottingham are not retail market stalls and were not even before the refurbishment.

In fact, they are former wholesale units that will now provide workspace and studios for creative SMEs.

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The EU is not blocking checks on doctors’ or dentists’ qualifications

Friday, April 8th, 2016
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Rating: 4.4/5 (28 votes cast)

An article in the Daily Mail on 2 April is inaccurate in suggesting that the EU is or ever will be “blocking vital checks on doctors’ qualifications” through the European Professional Card (EPC) system or in any other way.

A further article on 9 April saying the UK authorities “cannot check up on dentists” is also misleading.

Key points

Doctors are not currently covered by the EPC and no decision has been taken on whether or when the system might be extended to them – though doctors and dentists are covered by a rapid alert system whereby Member States share information on individuals subject to disciplinary action.

Any UK employer – in this case often the NHS – can check the aptitude, performance or language ability of any doctor, dentist, nurse or other medical professional who applies for a position or who is already practising, whether British, EU or non-EU.

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Regulatory cooperation under TTIP can help businesses and consumers. It cannot undermine lawmaking powers

Friday, March 18th, 2016
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Rating: 3.3/5 (29 votes cast)

The European Commission’s proposals on regulatory cooperation with the US under the TTIP transatlantic trade deal have now been published here, adding to the many other TTIP-related documents already available. This is in line with the Commission’s commitment to enhanced transparency in the ongoing negotiations.

Suggestions in the Independent newspaper on 18 March that regulatory cooperation would somehow subvert the EU’s legislative independence and “leave EU member states and the European Parliament further sidelined” are completely false and unfounded. They ignore the reality of the way regulatory cooperation works,

No regulatory cooperation mechanism already in existence or under TTIP will have the power to take legally binding decisions. Those are for politicians.

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EC in the UK

Check the EC Representation in the UK website

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