Whilst the Euro zone's economic turmoil is graphically played out in media across the globe day by day this month, behind Sterling's barricades in the UK we can only look-on anxiously and await what will surely turn out to be game-changing shifts in the fundamental make up of the EU and the relations between its members and partners.  Even modest medium-term planning for businesses in these uncertain times is becoming increasingly challenging

For example, can the long arm of pan-European regulation continue to have such a significant effect on businesses in Scotland and the rest of the UK?  The Coalition Agreement's call for the introduction of the One-in, One-out (OIOO) rule is a case in point. OIOO means that no new primary or secondary UK legislation which imposes costs on business or civil society organisations, can be brought in without the identification of existing regulations with an equivalent value that can be removed. The objective of the policy is, according to the Department for Business Innovations & Skills (BIS) "to bear down on regulatory costs, get rid of laws that are no longer needed, bring about a culture change in the Government's approach to regulation, and promote economic growth by delivering a positive outcome for business and civil society organisations

Welcome objectives in so far as they may go.  But the notion of "One-in, One out" surely now assumes a much greater significance, to the fundamentals of membership itself, than matters of mere regulatory red-tape?  Some businesses may take comfort from the thought that where seismic challenges loom, there will also be undoubted opportunities, and possible new freedoms, to exploit


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