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EU Directives

The EU commission explains that there are very good reasons to regulate:

Regulation serves many purposes – to protect health by ensuring food safety, to protect the environment by setting air and water quality standards, to set rules for companies competing in the marketplace to create a level playing field. Regulation is a necessary and accepted aspect of modern society.

Better Regulation – Simply Explained, EU Commission publication.

Sounds a reasonable sentiment you might assume. The problem is the regulation goes way too far, a bureaucrat’s wet dream, and a societal nightmare.

From its inception up until 2009, the EU had created around 103,000 new decisions, laws and regulations, which are around ten every single day for the last 50 years. There is no reason to suspect that the rate of new regulations and directives has reduced from 2009 until now, if anything it will have probably increased, exact figures are very hard to come by, it’s not as if the EU make a fanfare about these things.

The Directory of Community Legislation In Force and Other Acts of the Community Institutions is ( a tome running to 1,000+ pages of small print lists the tens of thousands of directives, regulations, decisions and resolutions.

Usually (although not always – somewhat typically we suggest) the numbers of the directives are in the format xx/nnn, where xx is the year and nnn is the reference number, sometimes they are reversed!!!!

This easy on the eye tome is separated into 20 general sections, for a flavour of these and the number of acts in operation see below:

Directory of European Union legislation in force

  • 01 General, financial and institutional matters (number of acts: 1,333)
  • 02 Customs Union and free movement of goods (number of acts: 946)
  • 03 Agriculture (number of acts: 3,184)
  • 04 Fisheries (number of acts: 1,134)
  • 05 Freedom of movement for workers and social policy (number of acts: 585)
  • 06 Right of establishment and freedom to provide services (number of acts: 277)
  • 07 Transport policy (number of acts: 738)
  • 08 Competition policy (number of acts: 1,796)
  • 09 Taxation (number of acts: 186)
  • 10 Economic and monetary policy and free movement of capital (number of acts: 542)
  • 11 External relations (number of acts: 3,686)
  • 12 Energy (number of acts: 406)
  • 13 Industrial policy and internal market (number of acts: 1,637)
  • 14 Regional policy and coordination of structural instruments (number of acts: 392)
  • 15 Environment, consumers and health protection (number of acts: 1,724)
  • 16 Science, information, education and culture (number of acts: 449)
  • 17 Law relating to undertakings (number of acts: 121)
  • 18 Common Foreign and Security Policy (number of acts: 538)
  • 19 Area of freedom, security and justice (number of acts: 670)
  • 20 People’s Europe (number of acts: 23)

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