BRUSSELS (Reuters) – When word of an EU ban on high-power vacuum cleaners hit Eurosceptic British tabloids in August, “Hoovergate” brought home a dilemma for the bloc that goes well beyond house-proud devotees of deep-pile English carpet.
Now, fear of fuelling rage at Brussels bureaucracy, especially in Britain where critics branded the “Hoover ban” a foreign attack on consumer freedoms, is pushing new EU leaders to axe a host of planned regulations in proposals expected on Tuesday.
Yet Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission is also under pressure to keep rolling out more laws on the “ecodesign” of appliances from kettles to hair dryers to TVs that supporters say will slash energy costs, helping consumers and the planet.
The regulations are popular not only with green campaigners but also with many European appliance manufacturers, who say such rules spur innovation and help build the market for power-saving designs.
They fear further rules could be eroded, because of Juncker’s concern over an anti-EU backlash across the bloc, particularly in Britain where Prime Minister David Cameron is offering voters a referendum on leaving the Union altogether.
“Contrary to the views presented in some media, our industry sees the … ecodesign and energy labelling directives as having a positive, not a negative, impact on our business environment,” Reinhard Zinkann, the CEO of Germany’s Miele and head of an EU home appliance industry group, wrote to Cameron in September.
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