But it’s not just direct cash payments and loss of jobs that has such a detrimental impact on our lives. Everywhere you turn Europe is casting a shadow over the way things are run in this country. Huge pharmaceutical companies are profiting from enormous price hikes on life saving medication, meaning essential drugs cannot be afforded by the NHS. EU laws that permit exclusive licenses to drugs manufacturers mean pharmaceuticals can hold the patents for specific drugs and place any price tag on their retail that they wish.
The working time directive is haunting the pages of the press again, with scores of UK doctors coming out against the impact the imposed 48 hour week has had on patient care. It’s suggested up to a quarter of junior doctors are leaving their training within 2 years, many to take up posts in other English speaking countries. The European legislation limiting individuals to a maximum working time has seen the NHS shake up rotas to make sure senior medics are on call during busy and stressful times, leaving junior doctors to work the majority of night shifts and weekends without proper supervision and guidance.
It’s remarkable to me that while high profile legislation such as the working time directive attracts media interest in retrospect, once the damage is done, very little is publicised prior to adoption, meaning rarely do members of the public get to protest against laws from Brussels before they are galvanised. Despite this, the European Commission, not content with media apathy, are seeking to revolutionise the President of the Commission’s communications staff to ensure Mr Barroso raises his profile across the Union. He will have a TV producer and photographer at hand 24 hours a day and a team of staff to monitor the blogosphere and quash any unpopular comment that may arise. All afforded by the taxpayer. The Commission will also pay journalists to follow Barroso on foreign trips. Yet this week in Parliament, the Commission has had the audacity to raise the issue of freedom of expression in the European media. It seems they are increasingly unhappy with certain state owned publications and insist that newspapers should be free from partisan patriarchs. That is despite having spent some eight million euros themselves on entertaining and “training” journalists, particularly in Ireland around the time of the illegal second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.