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EU Law

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of the statutory obligations upon it provided for in legislation introduced as a consequence of obligations arising from EU legislation in the most recent 12 months for which figures are available; (283473)

(2) what estimate he has made of the proportion of statutory obligations provided for by legislation on matters for which his Department is responsible which were introduced as a consequence of obligations arising from EU legislation in the latest period for which figures are available.

It is very difficult to provide precise figures for the proportion of UK legislation that stems from the European Union.

The administrative burdens measurement exercise carried out by the Government in 2006 put the proportion of administrative burdens stemming from the EU at approximately one-third of the total administrative burden. However, this applies across Government and is not specific to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which is directly responsible for less EU legislation than some other Departments.

The important thing is not the origins of a legislation, which could be a devolved Administration or a local authority as well as the Government or the EU, but the quality of the regulation. All regulations, irrespective of their origins, should comply with the principles of better regulation. Regulations should be risk based, proportionate and well designed, so as to achieve their objectives while also keeping costs to a minimum. The Government continue to work with European partners to ensure that EU regulations meet these standards.