Among pro-Brexit voters there seems to be a belief that many of the EU laws are silly or otherwise bad for the UK. There is a partial list of myths surrounding bad EU legislation which covers some of the purported silly laws.

Which EU laws do politicians commonly claim are detrimental to the UK?

Please include who makes the claims and their reasons, if given. Most reasons I have seen are economical.

(As an example I have heard the Working Time Directive mentioned as being bad for the UK economy, but I do not know who makes this claim. There are also many sources which claim this law is good for the economy, or for society in general. The truth of any claims is outside the current question.)

Edited-addendum: To further clarify, I am not interested in verifying which, if any, EU laws are actually bad for Britain. I am only interested in finding out and recording: 1) which politicians or political parties are making claims, 2) which laws, or groups of laws, they are most commonly citing, 3) what reasons are they giving.


The working time directive, as an example, is good for absolutely everyone who is working in the UK. It prevents people from working more than 48 hours a week over a period of 13 weeks, when everyone with a bit of a clue knows that doing that amount of work is counterproductive anyway (as in: People doing 48 hours a week for 13 weeks do less productive work than people doing 40 hours).

Some businesses may think otherwise, they are wrong. However, if people who voted to leave the EU are asked to work longer, I bet that will come as a surprise for them.

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    Also worth noting that employees can and do sign contracts in which they opt out of the directive, which itself has exemption clauses for opting in and out. So it's something of a moot point. Unless we're really keen to have pilots and drivers work until they fall asleep on the job? – inappropriateCode Jul 5 '16 at 10:48
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    The working time directive is the weakest piece of legislation ever written, can be individually optted out of and only activates on what would clearly be cripplingly unproductive work schedules. If that's the worst the EU legislation forced on the UK then I have no idea why there has been all this fuss. – Jontia Sep 7 '18 at 21:34
  • Sorry, but this does not answer the question. This question is about public perception in the UK, not about the pro/con of any individual law. – sleske Sep 10 '18 at 8:37

The Common Agricultural Policy and The Common Fisheries Policy are or were the two most complained about EU legislative areas. CAP is mostly hidden inside the EU budget discussions, so the famous £350m a week bus, but even pro-EU politicians have spoken against it. Quick reference to Nick Clegg in this Independent Article. Whereas the CFP last came up when a number of people complained about having to throw fish back into the sea, by throwing fish in the Thames. Sky News.

Both of these issues are interesting as these industries are generally spoken of as having voted to Leave the EU. Fishermen and Farmers. The fishing industry points to the large percentage of EU fishing that takes place in UK waters, this doesn't seem to be making many headlines since the Thames stunt linked above, possibly because it is one of the few areas of Brexit where the UK genuinely has a strong negotiating position. CAP also isn't being mentioned, possibly because it comes under general budget, possibly because UK government has promised to match all the existing subsidises. No farming change.

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