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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Topics for EU-Election Campaigns

Over the next few months, we will probably see the most interesting campaign for EU elections so far. According to opinion polls, 'EU-frustration' seems to be running high in all member countries. I sense, however, that the frustration in the South, i. e. in Greece, is somewhat different from the frustration in the North. The South blames the EU for all the economic pain they are suffering. The North blames the EU for more mundane things.

Below is a selecton of items which often drive EU-citizens in the North up the wall. Each one of them would make a popular campaign poster. Maybe some parties will make such posters. They will definitely raise these issues during the campaign.

Honey: the EU deemed it necessary to regulate the ingredients in honey. 
Smokers: at least 65% of front and back of a cigarette pack must show warnings and those warnings have to include shock pictures. While most people would agree that smoking is bad for health and that there should be warnings, they do not understand why the EU has to concern itself with such details instead of each member country on its own.
Horses: horse stables for more than 20 horses must now pay value-added tax. That will undoubtedly make every horse owner very enthusiastic about the EU.
Condoms: norms are in place for elasticity and length. Good thing that the users probably don't know about these norms. 
Water: toilets must not use more than six liters per usage. A similar limitation is being considered for showers. 
Menus: restaurants will have to indicate on their menus the existence (or non-existence) of 12 differents substances. 
Vacuum cleaners: new limits for energy usage have been put in place.
Gardening: the EU thought that lawn mowers were to loud and tractor seats were not safe enough. So they regulated both.
Light bulbs: the EU eliminated the traditional light bulbs and I have yet to meet one person who is happy about that.

An uninformed outsider might think that the EU should worry about the big things while the countries worry about the smaller things on their own. In reality, the EU is worrying about the small smaller things and no one seems to worry about the big things.

We'll hear a lot about that during the election campaigns!

2 comments:

  1. Klaus, as a native from Austria you should know that Austria had a law regarding curvature of cucumbers _before_ the EU created such an absurd regulation.

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verordnung_(EWG)_Nr._1677/88_(Gurkenverordnung)

    However, the ones you mention look reasonable. Regarding conventional light bulbs you might remember that it is a very old invention from famous Edison with an extremely bad efficiency. They produce more heat than light!

    H.Trickler

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    1. These new - supposedly energy saving - light bulbs are a big nuisance. They are much more expensive, do not give as much light as is alleged, do not really last that much longer than the traditional bulbs, must not be put in the normal garbage bin (because the contain poisonous substances), and if you have the bad luck to break one you must evacuate your house so that your children will not inhale mercury.
      This is a classical example where we would be much better off without EU regulation!

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