Commentary by Dr Peter Westaway, chief economist and head of the Investment Strategy Group for Vanguard in Europe.


Biola Babawale: Brexit: Does the EU tie the UK in red tape? My name is Biola Babawale. I am an analyst on Vanguard's sovereign credit desk. I have with me is Peter Westaway, chief economist and head of investment strategy at Vanguard Europe.

Peter, a common complaint about the European Union is that it is highly bureaucratic. Does this bear examination?

Peter Westaway: Well, I don't think it is completely unfair to say that there are rules and regulations of the EU that maybe we sometimes would like to do without, but I think there are a lot of myths around it.

Here, we have got a couple of charts that show how much regulation there is around the product market, that is goods and services, and around employment, that is the labour market. I think what these two charts show is that in both cases, the UK is already one of the least regulated in the whole of the EU, and it is also important to remember that when we come to regulation in goods markets, many of the regulations that are in place there to make it easier for British firms to sell goods into the euro area and into the EU, so it is about harmonising product specifications and so on.

When it comes to employment regulations, I think some of the regulations that are in place, we would probably want to have in place anyway, to do with discrimination or around environmental legislation and so on. I think the idea that all of these rules will be torn up if we left the EU is a little bit too simplistic. Overall, I think we hear too much about red tape.

Biola Babawale: Peter Westaway, thank you very much.

Peter Westaway: Thank you.

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