EU legislation in non-EU countries

Those who argue in favour of British membership of the EU claim that if we left, and had a free-trade agreement like Norway or Switzerland, we should still be subject to most of the EU’s acquis communautaire, “but have no say in the legislation” (as if we had any significant say at the moment — think of the example of the Working Time Directive!).
It is particularly said of Iceland that they have adopted two-thirds of EU legislation “without having a say”.  This has been asserted both by pro-EU voices in Reykjavik, and by Olli Rehn, the Enlargement Commissioner.
So it is instructive that an authoritative study in Iceland shows that in fact only 22% of laws enacted in Iceland originate in the EU (compared to probably 75% in the UK, and over 80% in Germany).  And Iceland is a small country with little leverage against the EU.  Britain would be in a hugely stronger position.  Indeed it is difficult to see how the UK could be obliged to adopt any EU laws, if it ceased to be a member and opted instead for a Free Trade Agreement.  Of course UK exports to the EU would have to meet EU laws, just as UK exports to the USA or India have to comply with American or Indian laws, but that is a commonplace of international trade.
The conclusion is simple: the threats of the Europhiles about the problems we should have outside the EU are fairy-tales to frighten children, not realpolitik.  See the report on Iceland at

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