There’s a great story floating around in the press today (Metro and Daily Star at the moment) about the EU bringing an end to rules on bendy cucumbers etc. And this one is no Euromyth, it’s true! The Commission has proposed to the Member States that we rationalise the marketing standards for fruit and veg and abolish them for the most heavily traded products. Not only will this reduce red tape, but, at a time when people are concerned about the environmental and social impact of food waste, means that less food will be thrown away. All seems very sensible to me. But if you can believe it, a majority of member states were against it when we put it to the management committee! As so beautifully put by my colleague Johan in Brussels “The Commissioner is determined that this should go ahead and is surprised by such strong resistance to such a practical example of simplification”. Let’s just hope that common sense prevails and the European Commission gets backing for such a sensible proposal.
An example like this just goes to show that it’s too easy to talk about “Brussels”. Sometimes (more often than not actually) the real decisions are taken by people based in London, Berlin, Ljubljana and elsewhere. The EU isn’t “them”, it’s “us” and that realisation is an important part of making it work for us. People can affect the decisions that are taken in a European context as much as any decisions taken by government, through their ministers and their MEPs.