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During his visit today to Brussels, Roger Freeman, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, set out the UK government'...
During his visit today to Brussels, Roger Freeman, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, set out the UK government's approach to European regulation.

Mr Freeman welcomed Jacques Santer's declaration that the European Union needed 'less but better' regulations. He noted that Leon Brittan had also confirmed recently that far fewer European regulations were now being brought forward following the completion of the European single market.

Mr Freeman said:

'We are competing in a global marketplace and if Europe is to succeed it must be competitive and that means getting rid of regulations that are unnecessarily burdensome, and reducing bureaucracy for small firms. We want to see a culture change in the way the commission prepares new legislation, so we will not be faced with implementing any more unnecessary and over- burdensome directives'.

Mr Freeman said that the British government would be pushing for a clear, new approach to regulation at the forthcoming Madrid summit. There would be three strands to this attack:

- There needed to be a better procedure for considering new European regulations taking into account the proportionality of the issue and the cost of the regulations to business and to consumers. All of this builds on the British government's strong support for the Molitor Report which was commissioned by the European Commission.

- Britain had also identified a number of specific proposals which are on the Commission Agenda and which should either be greatly simplified or should remain the responsibility of member states rather than of the European Union.

- Britain would be pressing strongly for a rolling programme of review of existing legislation to identify regulations that can be simplified or amended to lighten the burden on business. Britain has proposed that the first priority for this should be machine standards and food regulations. In the UK the government has already achieved substantial deregulation, especially during the last two years. The government continues to review all of the existing regulations affecting business with a view to achieving a further simplification.

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