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Five Myth About How EU Law affects the UK

A lot of misinformation provided by the leave campaign in the EU referendum have come settle in the minds of the British people as truth. Sadly, most of those statements were mere political whilst some of them remains true. This article seeks to explore and debunk some of the myths that have filtered through the British air waves in the wake of Brexit.

Myth 1: the EU make or co-decide 70% of UK Laws.

It was stated in 2014 by the European Commission Vice-President, Viviane Reding that 70% of UK law was influenced by the EU.

Her statement was as follows:

"For what should they vote, they do not know. They for instance do not know that the most powerful parliament in Europe, is the European Parliament. Why? Because the European Parliament is co-decider with the member states on European laws. And European laws are integrated into national laws in the member states. So 70% of the laws in the country are made, co-decided, by the European Parliament".

This statement is false. It was reported by the 2010 House of Commons Library that even if it was difficult to portray exactly how much EU requirements are the basis for UK law, it places the figure at 15-50%. The level of influence on UK law by EU directives greatly depends on the sector being focused on. For instance trade, agriculture, fisheries and environmental law are greatly influenced by the requirements of our EU membership. However NHS, family, criminal and education law are rarely touched by the directives of the EU.

Myth 2: Bananas must be straight

Bent bananas were never banned by Brussels, this myth needs to be debunked once and for all.

Bananas must be "free from malformation or abnormal curvature" as stated by Commission Regulation (EEC) 2257/94. There is no wiggle room, in the case of "Extra class" bananas but Class 1 bananas can possess "slight defects of shape" while Class 2 bananas can exhibit full-on "defects of shape".

The word "abnormal curvature" is not defined, unlike the rule surrounding cucumbers in the Commission Regulation (EEC) No 1677/88.

Myth 3: Britain is not a sovereign state if it is within the EU

The process was all states that possess legal status are acknowledged by the United Nations as a country, reflecting their jurisdiction over a territory and the permanent population living there is known as Sovereignty. The use of force in self-defense and to maintain security within their territories are used by the governments of sovereign states, they can create their own laws and can enter into agreements with other states in the conduct of their international relations.

Based on this definition, the UK is seen as a sovereign state and its membership to the EU, NATO or the United Nations does not diminish that. In the case where surrendering power has offered more advantages than disadvantages and where it also has the capability to remain beneficial in the future, the British Parliament has agreed to cede its power.

It was argued by the Leave campaign the UK will never achieve sovereign control over its borders as long as they remain in the EU. Though, benefits are provided by free movement of labor. Millions of pounds are contributed to the UK economy in terms of taxes and consumer spending by EU nationals. It is also significant to remember that free movement works both ways. In other EU member states, UK nationals are allowed to live and work there freely but this does not mean that Spain and France are not sovereign states.

Myth 4: The cost of implementing EU regulations is estimated at 600 million pounds per week

The claim that the cost of implementing EU regulations is at 600 million pounds per week was from a paper release by Open Europe. This weekly figure is simply a division of a forecasted annual cost of fulfilling EU regulations which is 33.4 billion pounds, therefore the conclusion is ambiguous. During the Leave campaign, Boris Johnson had no problem in promoting such a flawed figure even though individuals would not rely on such a calculation for their household budget let alone using it to influence the votes of individuals in the most significant referendum of our generation.

Boris Johnson also neglected to mention that massive benefits are produce by the EU directives to the UK which Open Europe estimates at a total of 58.3 billion pounds. It was also stated by the think tank that the benefits made available by the top-five most expensive directives of the EU outweighs the costs of applying them.

For reference purposes, the top-five EU directives are:

  • The UK Renewable Energy Strategy
  • The CRD IV packages (this replaced the Capital Requirements Directives (2006/48 and 2006/49)
  • The Working Time Directive (the benefit cost of this directive is hard to quantify)
  • The EU Climate and Energy Package
  • The Temporary Agency Workers Directive

Myth 5: EU human rights laws prevent the UK from deporting criminals

Only a few appeals against deportation succeed on the grounds of human rights, though this is a widely held belief and true to some extent.

The Human Rights Act of 1998, which includes the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights permits judges to prevent public authorities from acting in breach of rights contained in it. This will comprise of the deportation of individuals if they would be at risk of "torture or inhuman or degrading treatment" in their home country or to elude breaching the right to "respect for private and family life".

The following situations may occur where on human rights grounds, a foreign criminal may succeed in resisting deportation if:

  • The individual has been living in the UK since he or she has been a child and he or she has been convicted of a relatively minor offence but he or she has no form of connections with their home country;
  • The individual has children or a partner in the UK and it is not appropriate to force them to move to another country or tear a family apart by deporting the individual convicted of the offence. A genuine and subsisting family life must be established by the criminal and he or she must be able to prove that if a move to deport succeeds, serious harm will come on the family.

In reality, it is incredibly hard to successfully defend a deportation case on human rights grounds and this can be verified by any Immigration solicitors or barrister who specializes in immigration law.

For more information on any matter concerning immigration and nationality in the UK, contact us on +44(0)20 3439 9270.

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