Saturday, 17 Apr 2021

EU’s cherished ‘level playing field’ red-line dismantled – report shines light on Brussels

Brexit: Level playing field 'fundamental issue' says Von der Leyen

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Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib says the revelation shows the bloc is a “trade cartel” hell-bent on creating a “federal Europe”. The EU publishes data for average monthly earnings every four years, with the latest set based on figures from 2018.

The pro-Brexit think tank Facts4EU initiated an investigation, consequently concluding that:

  • 20 out of the 27 EU countries have mean (average) monthly earnings BELOW the UK’s
  • 11 of these had average earnings at less than half those in the UK
  • In the worst case, one EU country is at 1/5th of the average earnings in the UK

Facts4EU editor-in-chief, Leigh Evans, said: “In this case, it is clear that any pretence from the EU that its actions against the UK are in some way founded on a desire for ‘fairness’ and a ‘level playing field’ are nonsense.

“In addition, what is not shown in the above figures from the EU is that British companies obey British law in respect of workers’ rights, which go far above those pertaining in the EU.

“The UK’s maternity rights, statutory holidays, and other rights are far in excess of those in the EU, as we have shown several times previously.

“These all add to the cost for British companies employing people, compared to equivalent businesses in the EU.”

Mr Evans added: “It is becoming increasingly more difficult for the EU to justify their ‘level playing field’ mantra and it is high time this was shown up by the UK Government for the fiction that it is.

“Companies and countries compete.

“This is healthy; it drives innovation and growth. Long may that continue.

“However for the EU to try to claim that the UK must adhere to its standards while companies in most of its member countries enjoy far lower wage bills than those in the United Kingdom is yet another in a long line of absurdities from the Brussels ideologues.”

Mr Habib told Express.co.uk: “The EU has never been a level playing field.

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“It is by definition a trade cartel designed to incubate its political experiment of creating a new federal Europe.”

Part of the process of achieving this object involved taking in countries across Europe regardless of whether they were on an equal economic footing, Mr Habib claimed.

He added: “We know this not just from the evidence revealed in this report on wages but by the waves of immigration from these countries into the UK.

“That is the other side of the same coin revealed by Facts4EU.”

Lawyer Tom Bohills, the founder of the Alliance of British Entrepreneurs, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Independent Business Network, and winner of the Law Society’s ‘sole practitioner of the year’ award added: “This continues to demonstrate the utter fallacy of the EU’s so-called level playing field.

“All the single market has ever achieved is the transfer of business away from the UK while entrenching low wages and poor working conditions in Eastern Europe.

“There is no rational, moral or economic case for the UK’s place in the EU based on these figures.

“It is bad for British business and bad for the quality of products to the end consumer.”

The EU’s rules, which are central to its single market and which were a key aspect of the Brexit debate, are designed to ensure that firms making the same products can compete on a fair basis because they operate to similar rules that can affect their costs.

In a statement issued last July, EU negotiator Michel Barnier said: “There must be robust guarantees for a level playing field – including on State aid and standards – to ensure open and fair competition among our businesses, also over time.

“This is a core interest for all 27 Member States – and in my view also for the UK.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the European Commission to ask for a response.

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