Holyrood's European and External Relations Committee has launched an inquiry into the enforcement of European Directives affecting Scottish interests.  The inquiry will establish if there are aspects of the EU obligations that put business in Scotland at a comparative disadvantage.

Former Enterprise Minister and Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Wallace will head the investigation into whether European Directives have been appropriately transposed and implemented in Scotland based on scrutiny of a set of specific examples.

In particular, he will report to the committee on whether they appear to be implemented more strictly than their terms require or compared to England and Wales or other parts of the EU.

A further aim will be to come to a view on the scope there may be to bring regulatory regimes implementing European Directives into line with the principles of better regulation adopted by the Commission, and how far that would reduce the burden of regulation on business.

The details of the inquiry into the 'Transposition and Implementation of European Directives in Scotland' were agreed at the Committee's meeting on Wednesday 23 November.

Wallace explained: "I am keen to use this inquiry to establish the effect the implementation of these directives is having on Scottish businesses, suppliers and individuals across a range of sectors. I am particularly keen to see if these directives are being enforced too strictly and to the detriment of Scottish interests.”

"Over burdening Scottish businesses through guidance and laws coming from Europe cannot be healthy for our prosperity. There is a strong perception that this is what is happening. As MSPs, it is imperative we investigate the facts so that we can act to ensure that the best interests of our businesses are represented."

Focusing mainly on the areas of agriculture, fishing, food safety and the environment, the inquiry will target specific examples such as regulations on waste disposal by incineration under the Waste Incineration Directive, air quality regulations, fishing and food safety regulations.  It is expected to take up to six months.

Interested parties are invited to feed back to the Committee on the inquiry and more details on this can be found at: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/europe/inquiries/tied/eur-tied-home.htm

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