I’ve been an MEP for 13 years, but before politics my career included a total of seven years in the textile business.
First, as managing director of a subsidiary of Tootal (later Coats) and later of Donisthorpe, a subsidiary of DMC.
So I was interested when a wholesaler in my East Midlands constituency drew my attention to EU regulation 1007/2011, which will require all garments to carry a label stating the textile composition in local language. With up to 23 official languages in the EU, this is going to be a very large and inconvenient label.
Distributors are demanding that new shipments conform to the regulation before it takes effect in 2014. This leaves importers with redundant stock – or a very real problem of relabelling.
In my years in European politics, I have seen many examples of well-intentioned rules that leave a nightmare of red tape in their wake. This regulation appears to go against a key EU objective of facilitating trade between member states.
I have written to the commission asking whether there is any flexibility in implementation but, if previous experience is anything to go by, the commission is likely to explain why it was right to start with, rather than offering any succour to the industry.
- Roger Helmer, UKIP MEP representing the East Midlands Region. Helmer is UKIP’s spokesman on industry and energy.