Last October the President of the European Commission published an article in the British newspaper The Telegraph in which he criticized the unnecessary regulation by the EU. In his article Barroso called upon a Europe that is “big on big things and smaller on smaller things”. Even if there is no direct link between low participation rates in European elections or growing protest vote for populist parties, the EU is too often perceived as a bureaucratic machine aiming at regulating every aspect of citizens’ lives. To discuss if this perception is true, we debated the regulation of products and behaviors of citizens by the EU and its member states. Continue reading
More and more politicians and public officials try to regulate the behavior of citizens by banning products and actions they consider to be harmful: from the use of tobacco to vacuum cleaners. In German there is even a word naming this culture of overregulation – it is called “Verbotskultur”. As a consequence, we are witnessing opposition and even organized movements against the so-called “nanny state”. In Denmark, the organisation “Anti Forbud Danmark” proposed to subject all laws prohibiting a certain action to a critical evaluation. According to the organisation, if a certain law has not shown any positive impact after two years, it should be eliminated. Prohibition and overregulation limit people’s freedom to make choices and thus restrains their space for free and responsible action. This event aims at critically assessing if Europe is engaged on a path towards growing prohibition. What effect does Verbotskultur have on citizens? Are responsible decisions based on free and responsible thinking not the better way to go?
Foto source: flickr.com/adfcsachsen