HC Deb 18 April 1995 vol 258 cc15-6
Q3. Mr. Steen

To ask the Prime Minister what steps he is taking to monitor the implementation by other EC countries of European Community legislation passed by their legislatures. [17592]

The Prime Minister

I refer my hon. Friend—no, I do not. My right hon. Friend, the President of the Board of Trade—[Interruption.] I see that the recess has not improved Opposition Members, either, Madam Speaker.

My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and his Department work actively on behalf of British firms. We remain ready to intervene when we feel that other member states have failed to fulfil their obligations and to take the Commission to court if we believe that it has failed in its responsibility to monitor implementation and enforcement of European Community legislation.

Mr. Steen

Since the European Community has a poor and inconsistent track record of enforcing directives and regulations, will the Prime Minister consider employing some of our own people in our embassies to do a little detective work to find out whether other countries gold plate and over-zealously interpret regulations as we do, at a cost to the consumer, our industry and our people? As deregulation is a cornerstone of this Government's policy—one that I wholly support—will he take a look at the activities of the Deregulation Committee, whose first deregulation proposal was on greyhound racing?

The Prime Minister

On the first part of my hon. Friend's question, we have successfully pressed the Commission to increase its efforts to improve member states' compliance with Community law. I assure my hon. Friend that our embassies already actively monitor the position so that action can be taken quickly when shortcomings are identified. The single market compliance unit in the Department of Trade and Industry also helps firms disadvantaged by other member states' failure to implement.

The greyhound racing proposal is one of a large number. On the same day as it was put forward, we also started consultation on proposals to give friendly societies and credit unions more flexibility and to streamline procedures under the Building Act 1984. We shall continue to pursue deregulation.

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