The Sticky Problem Of The EU Single Market

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The recent storm over changes to EU rules on the sugar content of jam has been well covered in the media. However, something government ministers said in support of the change has gone unchallenged — something that goes to the heart of the problem with our EU membership.

The Daily Mail reported that ministers thought that it would be ‘easier and more lucrative’ for British jam-makers to export their products. It’s the same argument that’s always made for the Single Market — supposedly the jewel in the crown of our EU membership — but that’s not full story.

A Single Market requires harmonised regulation. That’s why we have an EU Jam Directive in first place. (Actually, as I’m sure you all know, it’s Council Directive 2001/113/EC on “fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée intended for human consumption”. Quite a mouthful.)

So there we have it: to help the export of a few million pots of jam and marmalade to Europe we have EU rules that govern all jam-making. Jam that is made, distributed and eaten in Britain, but regulated from Brussels. It’s absurd, and the only way we’ll escape this madness is to tell the EU to stick their Single Market and its regulations.

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