Manufacturers call for EU 'cull'

Manufacturers have called for the number of European commissioners to be reduced and a new drive to cut red tape under plans to reform the EU.

The EEF called for a reduction in the number of EU commissioners
The EEF called for a reduction in the number of EU commissioners

The EEF manufacturers' organisation said the industry supported continued membership of the EU, but with changes to help lift the eurozone out of the economic "doldrums".

Ahead of next month's European elections, the business group called on the Government to take a leading role in Europe and focus more on trade deals, as well as extending the single market.

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, said: "These elections come at a critical time for the EU. We need all UK parties to come forward with a positive message, both about our role in Europe and how they will seek to evolve its priorities and institutions.

"This will ensure it is fit for the future, more accountable and focused on growth, all of which are critical for business and for voters."

A major start would be a "cull" in the number of directorates and commissioners, said Mr Scuoler, who added: " The (European) Council should look to cut the number of commissioners and control their departments in a more co-ordinated and effective way.

"This would not only make them more accountable and growth-focused but would provide EU taxpayers with better value for money."

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Companies up and down the country tell me about the dangers of the UK weakening our links with the EU.

"Eighty-five per cent of manufacturers would vote to remain at the heart of the EU because they know millions of British jobs depend on it."