The Sun‘s latest ‘Bonkers Brussels’ outrage is over laws that are not in place and are unlikely to ever come into force.
In an article published last week, the paper made claims that ‘new EU laws will come into force’ that ‘will mean all types of transport used on private land will require compulsory insurance’ including for ‘personal mobility scooters, golf buggies and even lawnmowers’.
The issue was also covered in the Daily Mail, without quite the same levels of hyperbole.
The fears over the new legislation follow a European Court of Justice Ruling in 2014 where a Slovenian farm worker was injured by a tractor on private farm land. The ECJ ruled that the vehicle should have had compulsory motor insurance to cover the claim.
The ruling has prompted concerns that the case has set a precedent and that the EU could change laws on motor insurance. At the moment, motor insurance is only required for vehicles using public roads. The European Commission is currently carrying out a consultation to review the issue.
But any changes to laws are unlikely to affect countries such as Britain, where such off-road accidents are covered by the likes of public liability insurance or employers liability insurance. The ruling is likely to be implemented in countries where it might be needed, such as in Slovenia where the only compulsory forms of insurance are motor insurance and professional liability insurance. It’s why this particular case went to the European courts in the first place – because there was no form of compulsory insurance in place in Slovenia to cover it.
The Sun writes that these ‘crazy new European laws’ will mean that ‘motorsport races could even have to be cancelled as premiums for drivers at these would be sky high’.
But they won’t, as the organisers of motor racing events unsurprisingly have accidents covered under their events insurance.
All the EU is doing at the moment is gathering feedback from member states to identify any gaps and determine whether rules need to be changed in areas where people aren’t adequately covered by other forms of insurance. It makes sense in the long run as it will prevent any future cases being dragged through the European courts.
So a typical example of The Sun twisting a fairly rational policy process that actually isn’t going to affect us at all and making it sound as if those health and safety mad Brussels bureaucrats are telling us what to do at every turn. Some things never change.
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