Open Europe Blog

Update 15:00 Nigel Farage himself speaks:

Update 11:50 – We’ve come across a video (h/t @hughbs) in which Reding very much stands by the 70%-80% estimate.

Update 11:15 – The Telegraph‘s man in Brussels, Bruno Waterfield, has gotten in touch to say that he asked Reding specifically about the 70% figure:

However, at a similar event in Stockholm last year, she argued that:

“Did you know that 80% of Swedish laws are not Swedish laws? They are European laws that have been translated into Swedish legislation.”

We’ve already examined this claim here, but it seems Reding is at best confused about the extent of EU legislation (worrying for an EU Commissioner) or being purposefully misleading.

UKIP’s most effective recruitment sergeant?

Original post:

Where to start with Viviane Reding? She visited London yesterday as part of her so-called ‘Citizens’ Dialogue’ – which is neither about citizens nor a dialogue – and gave a very impressive performance. Somehow, she managed to offend absolutely everyone.

  • The British public by questioning whether they “know what they are going to vote about” in a potential 2017 EU referendum, 
  • The British media by suggesting it “completely distorts the truth” over Europe, 
  • The British government by rubbishing large parts of its strategy, most notably on the crime and policing opt out and EU free movement, 
  • Europhiles by suggesting that “70% of the laws in this country are made, co-decided, by the European parliament” (meaning that the share of EU laws, according to Reding, must be higher since not all EU decisions are made jointly with national parliaments) – a “euro myth” that ivory-tower types in the UK have spent years trying to “dispel”, and ironically, used as Exhibit A in their accusations of “misinformed media” (“6.8% of primary legislation” and all that),
  • The Ukrainian protesters by praising their brave, pro-EU stance, and then later saying she has, unlike the UK, “never pushed for further enlargement” instead favouring deeper integration. 

So in short, the British are too ignorant to vote, British media all misinformed and 70% of UK laws are made in Brussels. As one person put it on Twitter, it’s hard to think of better “rocket fuel for those who want to quit the EU”.

Apparently, Reding got her bag stolen from her car while engaging in the “dialogue”. Fortunately, her papers, hopefully including the source for the “70% of all laws” claim, were left untouched.

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