Monday, October 23, 2006

Give em an inch . . .

Three years from now it will be illegal "for any products made in or imported into the EU to carry any reference to non-metric measures". Illegal simply to make reference to pounds, ounces, inches, etc.?

This is exactly the kind of excessive control that makes so many people absolutely despair of the EU. What purpose is served in banning service station air pumps from listing the PSI measurements for air pressure? How long will it be before it's illegal for someone like me to ask for a pound of steak or to talk about suit sizes in terms of inches?

Then there are the simple practical concerns of businesses that want to export from the US to Europe and vice versa. These sorts of changes are easy enough to deal with if you're a mega-conglomerate transnational corporation with vast resources to devote to new packaging and warehousing, but if you're a small Irish company selling boxes of hand-made chocolates, for example, such a law change can mean the end of selling to the US market and, possibly, the end of the line. What possible benefit does the EU derive from this?