25th Mar 2018

Commission axes pregnant workers bill

  • The Commission has promised to cut the regulatory burden on businesses. (Photo:

The European Commission has announced that a plan to extend maternity leave for pregnant workers is one of five bills that will not be retabled in the next legislature.

Also killed off were bills on investor compensation schemes, and a 12-year old plan to set up a compensation fund for the victims of oil pollution damage.

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In a statement on Wednesday (18 June), the commission said that it was “good legislative practice to withdraw proposals that do not advance in the legislative process,” and noted that the proposals were either “outdated” or lacked support by MEPs and ministers.

The EU executive added that it had abandoned plans to table legislation on occupational health and safety for hairdressers. It also intends to repeal legislation relating to energy labelling, transport rates and the common agricultural policy.

The commission says it has slashed the cost of administrative burdens by €32.3 billion and scrapped more than 6,000 legal acts since 2005.

It introduced the so-called Refit programme last October after a number of governments expressed frustration about the volume of EU regulation on businesses.

UK prime minister David Cameron raised the issue at an EU summit last autumn, complaining that firms were being "throttled" by EU red-tape.

Politicians and business groups have argued that for every regulation and directive introduced another should be abolished.

Syed Kamall, who was elected leader of the conservative ECR group last week, commented that “the commission is correct to start focusing attention on areas where EU law should be repealed or reformed”.

“We need a culture change from the 1950s vision that every problem can only be solved by EU legislation,” he added.

Cameron sees EU 'sea change' on red tape

UK prime minister David Cameron has praised the European Commission's commitment to slashing red-tape on businesses saying there had been a "sea change in thinking" by Brussels.

Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case

In a letter to a coalition of transparency NGOs, the EU executive has repeated that a meeting between its former boss - now working for Goldman Sachs - and the current vice president was "fully in line" with the rules.

EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'

EU leaders demanded a permanent exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminium - and ruled out any bilateral trade talks within the 1 May deadline set by Donald Trump.

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