An occasional series on EU myths

EU myth number 1

EU health tourism costs the NHS billions”

Actually the cost to other European countries of treating the British abroad is more than five times the cost to the NHS of treating EU visitors here. In other words, we benefit enormously from the EU rules, without which the NHS would be £125 million worse off each year. The evidence is in the Department of Health data.

This is not really a surprise as the British who travel abroad are older and more likely to need medical treatment. EU citizens who come to the UK are relatively younger and healthier, so they are less likely to need  treatment while they’re here.


EU myth number 2

“British businesses are drowning in EU red tape”

Actually EU legislation generally reduces red tape;  pan-European rules can cut duplication and compliance costs. Recently simplifying the compliance framework for businesses has been a major priority of the European Commission. It’s now possible to register a trademark once, valid across 28 countries, instead of having to do 28 different sets of form-filling, registering, troubleshooting and fee-paying.


EU myth number 3

“Most of our laws come from Brussels”

Actually the real proportion is just 13.2% of our laws. And these figures include everything that even mentions the EU, even if it’s just a “passing reference” or a definition.


EU myth number 4

“ EU red tape leaves urban homes in internet slow lane”

Actually the EU Broadband Guidelines fexplain how state aid rules apply to the rollout of fast broadband and how investment can be made more quickly. It’s one of the  Commission’s priorities. Indeed the EU funds broadband rollout in remote areas. For example Superfast Cornwall the largest single European investment in broadband and which was supported with £50 million of EU money. The Digital Derbyshire project got £2.5 million.

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