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Practical World True News Magazine

10 diktats from Brussels that are ruining life in Britain

10 diktats from Brussels that are ruining life in Britain.

From lowering energy bills to stopping toxic chemicals poisoning the environment, here are just some of the ways we’re tyrannised by the EU

Barely a day passes, it seems, without bureaucrats in Brussels adding to the red tape that bind us. The voices of corporations and populist politicians are routinely ignored by the pen-pushers of the European commission. 
In the wake of new evidence about the knock-on effect of energy-saving directives, it’s time someone drew attention to the myriad ways EU regulation messes with your right to be overcharged, poisoned and exploited. 
So here we go. 
In 2009 the commission began phasing out the incandescent lightbulb, an extremely inefficient technology (95% of the energy they use is given off as heat, rather than light) which had been in use for 130 years. Fluorescent bulbs, which use 65-80% less energy, now dominate the European market.

Forcing fridge makers to jump through extra hoops

Minimum efficiency requirements laid down in 1996 have resulted in changes to the design and manufacture of fridges and freezers. As a result, models on sale today use 27% of the energy of their 20-year-old counterparts. 
These rules, together with the end of incandescent lightbulbs and other measures, have meant that, despite its return to economic growth, the UK is using 10% less electricity than it was five years ago. Costs for consumers and businesses are lower than they would’ve been as a result.

Placing restrictions on useful chemicals like organophosphates

The commission was ahead of the curve on this, enacting legislation to end the discharge of some highly toxic chemicals into the environment from the late 1970s onwards. The list of substances included organophosphate pesticides, mercury compounds and cadmium compounds. 
To monitor and counteract the emergence of new sources of chemical pollution, the EU launched its Reach programme, which makes “the people who place chemicals on the market responsible for understanding and managing the risks associated with their use”.

Stopping cosmetic companies from using animals to make sure their products are safe

A ban on testing finished cosmetic products was enacted in 2004. The testing of ingredients or combinations of them has been banned since 2009. By contrast, in the US it is legal to carry out eye-irritation, lethal-dose and many other kinds of test on animal subjects.

Forcing airlines to help passengers when things go wrong 

In 2004, an EU regulation established common rules on compensationand assistance to passengers in the event of being denied boarding, cancellation or long delays. They are entitled to food, communication and possibly an overnight stay depending on the length of the delay. If luggage is lost, damaged or delayed passengers can claim and unclear pricing online is prohibited – all taxes and charges must be visible from the start.

Riding roughshod over farmers’ right to spray neonicotinoid insecticides without restrictions



Two Bees and dandelion flower
Bee populations have collapsed across Europe, with many scientists attributing this to the use of neonicotinoids. Photograph: Alamy


Many zoologists believe that neonicotinoid insecticides are implicated in the decline of bee populations. As bees are vital for the pollination of many economically important fruit-bearing plants and cereals, the commission has enacted restrictions on the use of three neonictonoidsfor two years.

Limiting the freedom of toymakers to coat their products in carcinogenic substances

The toy safety directive of 2009 updated a set of rules from 1988. It prohibits the use of carcinogens, mutagens and allergens in the accessible parts of toys.

Stopping banks making extra money on card purchases

This week, member states and the European parliament agreed to the commission’s suggestion to introduce maximum fees charged on card transactions. These are the fees a retailer must pay their bank each time a consumer buys something with a debit or credit cards. Fees are around 1.5% in some EU member states – in Germany the average credit card rate is 1.8%. The draft from the EU proposes a cap of 0.2% and 0.3% on debit and credit cards respectively. Retailers across Europe pay banks about €13bn a year to handle transactions. 

Forcing companies to treat employees the same, regardless of gender, race, age, sexual orientation or disability

All forms of discrimination with regards to access to employment were prohibited by the 2000 employment equality framework directive.

Giving us gratuitous access to foreign health systems



Technician with patient in CT scanner
The European health insurance card provides access to the health systems across the EU. Photograph: Rex Features/Cultura


The European health insurance card, available to all EU citizens, allows the holder access to state-provided healthcare under the same conditions and at the same cost as residents in all 28 member states of the EU as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
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