Global EU law idea gets a barracking

International law firms have ridiculed the European Commission’s proposals that the rest of the world should adopt EU regulations.

The criticism comes days after the Commission launched a policy paper examining the future of the bloc’s single market, which calls on the EU to encourage other jurisdictions to use European law as standard.

Dewey Ballantine international arbitration chief Robert de By said imposing Euro-style regulation on the world does not fit with how international markets operate.

“A desire to impose standards not to facilitate international commerce but to gain the upper hand by edict rather than through open market competition casts serious doubt on the quality of the regulations the Commission now tries to impose on the world,” said De By.

Berwin Leighton Paisner associate Chris Bryant, who specialises in EU single market rules, said the EU may well be able to establish itself as a pacesetter in the global market, but it will only be on a case-by-case basis.

“We’ve already seen the US and the EU butt heads over issues such as genetically modified crops, so one size doesn’t fit all,” said Bryant. “But another example is the Ross directive, which is an environmental rule relating to electrical equipment, which shows the EU can dominate in some areas, with Ross being rolled out across Canada and California.”

But Norton Rose corporate and regulatory insurance global head James Bateson said the idea is “fanciful”.

“The EU has enough difficulty getting its member states to follow the rules, so to try for world domination seems extremely premature by, say, about a million years,” Bateson said.