§ Mr. Marlow
To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the conclusions of the European Council on the request to the European Commission to audit national regulations.
§ The Prime Minister
The European Council in Brussels on 10 and 11 December adpoted a short-to-medium-term action plan to reinforce the competitiveness of the European economy, which the Council will monitor. The Council recognised the importance of a large European export-oriented market and proposed a number of measures to exploit this major asset.
The Council recognised that legislation must be simplified and reduced in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, and that consistency between national and Community legislation must be ensured. The Council requested the Commission to examine ways of creating a more favourable business environment for small and medium-sized enterprises for example, by providing for an audit of Community and national regulations in terms of their consequences for employment. Any review of national regulation will respect the competences of Community and member states and the principle of subsidiarity.
The Government have nearly completed a comprehensive review of 3,500 regulations which impact on United Kingdom business to ensure that they do not impede our potential for wealth and job creation. We welcome similar efforts at the Community level and at member state level systematically to review legislation which impairs the competitiveness of European industries and Europe's potential for economic growth and employment.