At the table, or eating the crumbs?

An interesting article in today’s FT (here for those with subscriptions), which should be posted to every UKIP member in the country. In summary, it says that the EU is becoming an important rule-maker for the rest of the world, because of the size and influence of the EU’s single marketplace.

The EU’s emergence as a global rulemaker has been driven by a number of factors, but none more important than the sheer size and regulatory sophistication of the Union’s home market. The rapid expansion of the economic bloc to 27 nations with a total of more than 480m largely affluent consumers has turned the Union into the world’s biggest and most lucrative import market. At the same time, the drive to create a borderless pan-European market for goods, services, capital and labour has triggered a hugely ambitious programme of regulatory and legislative convergence among national regimes. […]

As Henrik Selin and Stacy VanDeveer, two US-based academics, point out in a recent paper that examines the global impact of three recent EU laws on chemicals, electronic waste and hazardous substances: “The EU is increasingly replacing the United States as the de facto setter of global product standards and the centre of much global regulatory standard setting is shifting from Washington DC to Brussels.”

If you want a notable example, Arnold Schwarzenegger is currently pursuing negotations on California joining the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, while Japan has copied a batch of EU environmental laws wholesale.

So the choice is, be in the EU and at the table while these rules are being drafted, or leave the EU and have to obey the rules anyway.