Members from the National Federation of Retail Newsagents visited Brussels this week for a series of meetings with nine Irish MEPs.
The delegation met with Gay Mitchell, Sean Kelly, Mairead McGuinness, Jim Higgins, Emer Costello, Phil Prendergast, Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher, Liam Aylward & Marian Harkin.
NFRN Ireland highlighted the need for the European Commission to develop a more streamlined approach to business regulations in order to reduce the red tape burden that hampers the daily operation of retailers and SMEs.
The Commission recently announced its intention to prepare a European Retail Action Plan but the NFRN expressed concern to MEPs that this may be too little too late for faltering retail business in Ireland.
In Ireland, licensing and permit costs are on average €5,436 while the cost of compliance with legislation for the average retailer is €6,636 per annum.
The MEPs were told by the NFRN that Ireland needs a single integrated licensing system with increased validity for most of them changed from one to three years.
In addition, the NFRN highlighted to MEPs how implementation of the EU’s proposed Tobacco Products Directive will add to the regulatory burden faced by Irish retailers.
The association argues that without stringent national and pan-European measures against tobacco smuggling, well-meaning European Commission proposals on plain packaging such as the Tobacco Products Directive could actually worsen the smuggling problem as legal and illegal products become almost indistinguishable.