European Union (EU) regulation affects everybody living within the member state bloc, from businesses to public organisations, homeowners and heating oil customers.
With so many different nations under its jurisdiction – each of which has its own unique set of economic and political circumstances – it can be difficult for the European legislature to find a happy medium.
At times, decisions may be seen to have a disproportionate – and often unintended – impact on certain groups, regions or industries.
According to lobby group Business for Britain (BfB), this is the case with the EU’s current environmental policies.
BfB – which comprises of influential UK business leaders – has warned that green policies created in Brussels are putting as many as 1.5 million jobs under threat in Britain.
The group says manufacturers are struggling amid increasing energy costs, which it claims are the direct result of EU intervention.
BfB claims a number of major employers are considering moving their manufacturing bases overseas to countries where fuel is cheaper.
It highlights the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme and the Renewables Obligation as being particular problems for UK manufacturers.
BfB accepts there is “a good chance” the UK would have introduced similar policies had it been outside of the EU, and in some areas Britain has gone further than required to promote energy efficiency.
However, it says “this should not cloud the fact that the EU does play a role in driving up the cost of energy and has introduced expensive policies”.
With concerns over global warming rising in recent years, the EU may be right to embrace the green agenda and promote energy efficiency where possible.
But for the health of the economy – not just in the UK but across Europe – it is important to strike the right balance, ensuring valuable jobs are protected.