After three years of campaigning to stop Brexit, I have had a lot of time to think about EU laws. I studied Law as an undergraduate, then did a Master’s in Law and Business on top of my legal practice course. Naturally I came across quite a bit of EU law. In all that time, I never came across a single law which seemed oppressive in any way – despite what Brexiteers would have you believe.
I even remember joking with my EU law lecturer about Article 50 and how no country enjoying so many benefits within the EU would ever want to leave…
We all could go online and read EU law before bedtime. Nobody’s hiding this information from us. Unfortunately, the truth about EU law is still often drowned out by disinformation and fake news.
If those with concerns about the EU bothered to look into some of the famous ‘Euromyths’, they might be surprised to discover that EU rules aren’t “oppressing” them – quite the opposite.
This is EU law: Ten examples
To illustrate this, I’d like to present ten EU laws I’ve come across and how they affect you. This list is not a ‘top 10’, but rather a few examples of EU law which you may find enlightening. No doubt this article will be labeled as fake news by some, so I give you the names of the legislation for you to look up.
Mobile Roaming Regulation: Without EU rules on roaming charges, Brits could get stung by phone companies while abroad. Something to mull over as you Instagram on the beach this summer.
Transfers of Undertakings Directive: People whose employer changes after a merger, takeover or acquisition are protected by EU law. Red-tape-slashing Brexiteers on the side of big business would probably attempt to water down or remove this kind of employee protection after Brexit.
Pet Passports Regulation: It lets you bring your pooch on holiday! Need I say more?
Consumer Rights Directive: This creates rights across the EU. It aligns national consumer rules, such as those on the information you need to be given before you buy something, and your right to cancel online purchases. (Unlike the Brexiteers peddling lies painted on the side of a bus, the EU cares about your right to make an informed choice.) This means that you can rely on the same rights wherever you shop in the EU.
Driving Licences Directive: I will quote directly from the Directive: ‘Driving licences issued by Member States shall be mutually recognised.’ This is excellent because it means we can just nip across the channel and drive anywhere within the EU without the need for additional paperwork. Have you planned your next road trip yet?
Mutual Recognition of Qualifications Directive: This gives automatic recognition to qualifications for nurses, midwives, doctors and so on. In other words, it gives our NHS access to a huge pool of talent which will be closed off to us after Brexit.
Flight Compensation Regulation: If you prefer flying to a road trip, this EU regulation provides compensation and assistance to passengers caught out by delayed or cancelled flights. It sucks to be left at the airport for hours on your first day off, but at least the EU ensures you’ll get compensated.
Citizens’ Rights Directive: This is the one we all love. It ensures the fundamental right for us to move freely in the EU, while limiting the burden that this may cause.
General Food Law Regulation: This creates a farm-to-fork approach that covers all sectors of the food chain. It aims for a high level of protection of human life and health, consumers’ interests, and animal health and welfare. Protects us from food scares!
Consular Protection Directive: As EU citizens, Brits can automatically rely on consular protection from any EU country when they’re in an emergency in a country where there is no British representation. Handy!
Where’s the oppression?
Now, whether you voted Leave or Remain, ask yourself: Do any of those laws oppress me? Are any of them bad for people in the UK?
Remember that those are only ten EU laws that we benefit from. There are countless others!
The looming prospect of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit brings with it the threat of a host of far more damaging legal changes than the loss of the directives and regulations listed above. But these are laws that will demonstrably impact our daily lives. Each on its own is small, but they add up, and each is another reason to stay in the EU.
So if someone asks you how the EU benefits them, you now have ten answers ready to go. Things we’d all rather have than not.