It may be the silly season, but the latest Euromyth to ruffle right-wing feathers takes silliness to a new level.
The Express, Mail, Sun and Telegraph unanimously announced that Brussels wants to remove the royal crest from British birth certificates and replace it with the EU flag.
In fact, the EU Commission simply proposed (back in April) that EU countries recognise each other’s basic documents –such as birth, marriage or company certificates – without the need for special stamps to prove they are real.
It also proposed giving people the option of requesting a European format certificate when registering a birth or marriage, so they don’t have to translate their documents elsewhere in the EU.
The proposal is just that at this stage: a proposal. To enter law, it has to be agreed by ministers and MEPs – unlikely before 2016. Most importantly, the European format certificates would be purely optional – there would be no compulsion for them to be issued or for people to choose them.
Anyone who has gone through the hassle of translating and ‘legalising’ certificates overseas will welcome this proposal with open arms. It cuts bureaucracy rather than creating it.
That’s good news for British businesses trading in Europe. And it will save time and money for the millions of Brits who live, travel and work in the EU – an estimated £280 million a year in legal and administrative fees.
For that reason alone, we should welcome this proposal – and have an EU debate based on facts, not fiction.
Lib Dem European Parliamentary Candidate for South East England