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The issue of how much legislation is determined by the European Union has long been a topic of debate, with some claiming that as much as 80% of laws come from Brussels. However, studies have found that the actual figure is closer to 20-25%. The EU heavily regulates certain areas such as agriculture, environment, and economics, but leaves other areas such as work, employment, internal security, and health up to member states. This is because some legislation needs to be on a wider scale to be effective, such as in the case of migration or climate change. The EU is not competent to regulate every area of law, and many laws historically coming from Brussels have been technical in nature, such as customs regulations.

Scholars argue that it is more important to focus on the quality of EU legislation rather than the quantity. Legislation is becoming more politically sensitive, such as the New Migration Pact and the Coronavirus Recovery regulation, and it is crucial for elected officials to make difficult political choices. The EU should be viewed as a set of institutions founded by member states, rather than a Brussels-based monster. The idea that member states are victims of the EU is considered a myth, as member states were involved in the creation of the European Union.

The 80% estimate often attributed to Jacques Delors, a former president of the European Commission, stems from a speech he made in which he predicted that by the year 2000, 80% of economic legislation would be of Community origin. This figure has been cited and repeated over the years, leading to misinformation about the extent of EU influence on legislation. It is important to understand that while the EU does have a significant impact on certain policy areas, member states still retain autonomy in many areas of legislation. The EU is not a superstate that can regulate whatever it wants, and much of the legislation from Brussels is technical in nature to regulate certain aspects such as customs.

The European Union has a complex relationship with its member states, with some areas heavily influenced by EU laws and others left for member states to decide on. The EU is seen as playing a crucial role in shaping policy in areas such as agriculture, environment, and economics, but it does not have the authority to regulate every aspect of law. As legislation becomes more politically sensitive, it is important for elected officials in the European Parliament to make difficult choices. The EU should be seen as a collaborative effort among member states, rather than a centralized authority in Brussels. As discussions around the EU and its influence continue, it is essential to consider the nuanced relationship between the EU and its member states in determining legislation.

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