A euromyth is an urban legend specifically relating to the European Union (EU). Euromyths can be either wholly untrue or a deliberate distortion of the facts. Those who use the term allege that the Eurosceptic press distort stories about EU policies to portray the EU in a bad light.

Euromyths are in some case largely fictional but in other cases are based on a distorted version of what is truth (considered from the perspective of the person using the term). They may also stem from a misunderstanding. Yet other euromyths are drawn from working papers, policy suggestions or individual ideas, and are presented as a fixed decision being enacted when in fact they may simply be a mere proposal that has little chance of being realised as a piece of legislation.

Euromyths can also arise when the actions of an independent European organisation (e.g. the European Committee for Standardization) are erroneously attributed to the EU and its power to make binding laws.

Institutional representation

Euromyths are believable, because they are correlated with euroskepticism, where EU laws are represented, as been decreed by the unaccountable european commission (the EU executive), in an authoritarian and undemocratic fashion, while the EU legislature is dismissed as undemocratic, European parliament (the half of EU legislature, that represent EU people) is dismissed as weak and the council(the half of EU legislature that represents the states) is dismissed as unaccountable(despite being composed by national ministers).While the EU isn't perfect,the bulk of thies beliefs can be traced to various sources.

The supposition that EP is powerless is due to it's recent past as a consultative assembly and the implicit comparison with national parliaments, but this comparison leads to false conclusions. Important differences with national parliaments are the role of committees, bipartisan voting, decentralized political parties ,executive-legislative divide and absence of Government-opposition divide.All thies treats are considered as sings of weakness, but this very same treats are found in the US house of representatives, EP is more appropriately compared with the US house of representatives.

That EC decrees EU laws can be traced to the fact that legislative initiative in the EU rest only on the commission,while in member states it is shared between parliament and executive, but less then 15% of legislative initiatives from MPs become law when they don't have the backing of the executive. EP can only propose amendments, but unlike in national parliaments, the executive has no guaranteed majority to secure the passage of its legislation. In national parliaments, amendments are usually proposed by the opposition, who lack a majority for their approval and usually fail. But given the European Parliament's independence, and the need to get majority approval from it, proposals made by its many parties (none of which hold a majority alone) have an unusually high 80% success rate in the adoption of its amendments. Even in controversial proposals, its success rate is 30%, something not mirrored by national legislatures.cite web|first= Amie|last= Kreppel|title = Understanding the European Parliament from a Federalist Perspective: The Legislatures of the USA and EU Compared|publisher=Center for European Studies, University of Florida|year=2006|url=|accessdate = 2008-09-26]

Euromyths in the media

On the 23 July 2003 The Times ran the following story; "Circus performer must walk tightrope in hard hat, says Brussels. A tightrope-walker says that his career has been placed in jeopardy by legislation originating in Brussels which dictates that he must wear a hard hat to perform". This story stemmed from new EU laws which were introduced to protect workers who operate at height but, in the legislation in question, there is no mention of hard hats or circus performers. []

Also in 2003 the BBC reported that a council in Wiltshire had had to remove swings from a village because, under EU regulations, they were considered "too high". [] As with many Euromyths, there was both fact and fiction in the story: the BBC article continues to note that the EU did not in fact insist that the swings were removed but points out that the council itself chose to remove the swings as the framework itself was considered to be dangerously high under the new EU regulations.

Other examples follow a similar pattern:-

traight Rhubarb

"Crackpot Euro chiefs have decreed British rhubarb must be straight. Farmers will have to throw away crooked stalks under barmy new rules. The order follows a review of community fruit and vegetable standards by the EU agricultural directorate". The Sun, 24 June 1996, page 11.

In fact the European Union has never planned to set, or recommend, any such marketing rules for rhubarb but it did set out grading standards for fruit and vegetables and an attempt was made to prosecute the British supermarket chain Asda for breaching grading standards. []

Truck Drivers to eat Muesli

According to the EU commission in Australia and New Zealand [] it was reported in several British newspapers that Truck drivers were going to be forced to stop eating 'fry-ups' and be forced to eat Muesli and Croissants by the EU.

In fact the EU was merely planning guidelines for truck drivers which focussed on health and safety issues such as diet. The legislation was mainly concerned with enforcing driver training and conveying information on the importance of rest and responsible driving. There was no mention of "being forced to eat muesli".

(This story also appears in the BBC quiz on the EU and "Euromyths" [] )

One-size Condoms

The EU condom regulation story was a highly successful April Fools' joke by Radio Netherlands that used wide-spread suspicion of what many saw as the regulatory zeal of the European Commission to make an impact. It was picked up by many newspapers and radio stations in Europe.

On 1 April 2007 Vanessa Mock, a journalist at the Brussels bureau of Radio Netherlands broke a story about a European Commission proposal to strictly regulate the size of condoms in the European Union. Amongst others, it included interviews with a Commission spokesman and a Member of the European Parliament and credibly argued that regulation was necessary to ensure competition and a level playing field for small condom makers - an argument regularly made in real life by the European Commission, one of whose many roles is to regulate the EU's internal market and uphold competition. []

In fact the EU is not involved in setting condom standards. The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) is a voluntary body made up of national standards agencies and affiliated industry/consumer organisations from nineteen European countries. It has nothing to do with the EU. []

ee also

* Euroskeptic
* Europhile

External links

* [ Euromyths from the European Commission]
* [ Euromyths from the BBC]

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