Open Britain MPs warn of dangers of hasty British exit from EU regulatory bodies

The Government must not pull Britain out of over 30 EU regulatory bodies unless it has established suitable alternative domestic arrangements, Open Britain MPs from Labour and the Liberal Democrats say today. 

If the Government seeks to bring forward clauses in the Article 50 legislation which aim to do so, Chris Leslie MP, a leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, will seek to amend it to ensure adequate safeguards are in place before the UK quits the various regulatory bodies.

The MPs also call for the Government to judge, on a “case by case basis”, whether the UK could continue to be a member of some of these bodies, in order to avoid “unnecessary duplication, bureaucracy and cost.”

They point to the fact that British businesses are regulated by 34 bodies, from the European Chemicals Agency to the European Banking Authority, which between them have budgets of €2.3bn (£2.0bn) and employ over 5,500 people.

There has so far been no guarantee from the Government that equivalent British regulators will be in place at the point that we leave the European Union. 

Commenting, Chris Leslie MP, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:

“It would be irrational, irresponsible and downright idiotic to pull us out of over 30 European regulators before appropriate alternative domestic arrangements are properly in place.

“Covering everything from aviation to food to medicine, these regulators are vital to the work of most sectors of the UK economy and cannot be replicated overnight.

“If, as has been suggested, the Government seeks to pull us out of these agencies in the Article 50 legislation, I will seek to amend the bill to ensure that the UK cannot just quit them in a couple of years without adequate alternatives established here at home.

“I will be seeking support from across the House, because it is in no one’s interests for British businesses to be thrown into regulatory and bureaucratic chaos.” 

Norman Lamb MP, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:

“We’ve benefitted for years from a common regulatory system across Europe in everything from energy to banking to chemicals.

“Pulling us out of 34 regulators simultaneously is going to be a huge bureaucratic headache and come with a hefty price tag.

“We need to establish now what the Government plans are for replicating these regulatory regimes and get assurances we won’t simply abandon them for ideological purposes before we’ve got our own house in order.”

Pat McFadden MP, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:

“Businesses in my constituency want certainty not confusion about what regulatory regime they will be faced with when we leave the EU.

“To adopt an ideological position that rules out participation in any EU bodies, such as the European Medicines Agency or Aviation Safety Agency, could lead to a lot of unnecessary duplication, bureaucracy and cost.

“It would be far better to judge these things on a case by case basis.”

/ends

Notes to editors: 

According to the House of Commons Library:

  • There are 34 EU regulatory bodies (sometimes called decentralised agencies).
  • They have 5,586 staff in total (according to the 2016 EU Budget).
  • They spent €2.3bn a year (based on figures mostly for 2014).  Note that this includes EU funded bodies, bodies funded by the EU and Member states together and self-funding bodies (for example that levy fees) – this means that not all of these costs are directly financed by the taxpayer. 

A list of these agencies, their number of staff and their budgets, is below 

Regulator

Number of staff

Budget (in euros)

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

465

110m

European GNSS Agency (GSA)

113

404m

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound)

95

22m

European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (EU-OSHA)

41

17m

European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

676

181m

European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)

202

58m

European Railway Agency (ERA)

135

25m

European Environment Agency (EEA)

130

66m

European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA)

48

10m

Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)

15

4m

European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA)

51

9m

European Banking Authority (EBA)

127

34m

European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA)

93

22m

European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)

140

33m

European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop)

94

18m

European Training Foundation (ETF)

90

23m

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

186

61m

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

330

79m

European Medicines Agency (EMA)

602

266m

European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex)

225

98m

European Police Office (Europol)

480

85m

European Police College (CEPOL)

28

9m

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)

79

16m

European Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (EU-LISA)

118

64m

European Asylum Support Office (EASO)

91

12m

Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union

197

45m

Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER)

69

10m

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

74

22m

European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)

28

7m

The European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Union (Eurojust)

203

34m

European Joint Undertaking for ITER – Fusion of Energy (F4E)

283

N/A

Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR)

39

N/A

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

39

167m

Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO)

N/A

13m

Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM)

N/A

246m

Single Resolution Board (SRB)

N/A (new agency)

N/A (new agency)

 

 

 

 

5,586

2,270,106,895.12