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Europe scraps workers' tan-ban law

Europe's controversial tan-ban law was scrapped today as part of a pledge to take the axe to absurd directives dreamed up by eurocrats.
A total of 67 other pieces of pending legislation deemed pointless or obsolete are being binned in the first stage of an all-out war on bureaucracy ordered by Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

The red tape battle is seen as crucial to win public support for the EU venture. And Mr Barroso targeted the tan ban law as a classic example of where the EU is going wrong.

After a rash of stories about EU plans to force bare-chested outdoor workers to cover up in the sun to save their skin, he personally insisted the proposed rules be ditched.

The new safety law, the 'Optical Radiation Directive', was designed to provide better safeguards for workers exposed to potentially-dangerous artificial radiation such as from x-rays.

But attempts to extend the rule to include natural radiation - sunlight - triggered a rash of stories that Britain's construction workers, and even Bavaria's buxom barmaids, would be forced to wear more clothes on the job.

The other proposals being withdrawn include EU-wide laws covering sales promotion on the internet, the labelling of foodstuffs, weekend lorry driving bans, and rules on the size of coffee packaging.

Liberal Democrat leader Chris Davies said: 'This list confirms the belief that it is possible for Europe to do less while doing it better. Most of the measures would have no affect at all on the lives of ordinary people.

'The Commission needs to put procedures in place to ensure that similar items never see the light of day in the first place.'

Today's cull follows screening of a total of 183 legislative proposals now under consideration. Sixty-eight have been deemed unnecessary.

Tory leader in the European Parliament Timothy Kirkhope urged the Commission to keep wielding the axe.

He said: 'What the EU needs urgently if new jobs are to be created and the ever growing dole queues are to be cut, is a bold and sustained attack on existing legislation.

'Top of the list for review should be the various employment directives concerning working time that limit flexibility for employees and workers alike.'

The Commission said it will begin simplifying and updating the entire 80,000-page body of existing EU legislation next month.

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