Gunnar Hökmark MEP will address the importance of the Nanny State Index and outline his ideas about the ideal role of regulators. Chris Snowdon will go through the newly published index and look at the rankings in the four different categories. He will also briefly explain the methodology and motivation behind this project.
Finland, Sweden and the UK were Europe’s biggest nanny states across most categories in 2016. What makes top nanny state countries different? What has changed since the publication of NSI in 2016? Why? Can we detect a trend after two years of this project? What have the policy outcomes been and have they resulted in healthier populations? The Index shows little correlation between countries of similar geographic location or economic performance and their ranking. Germany and the Czech Republic were the smallest nanny states across all categories by quite a significant margin last year. Has less regulation led to poorer health outcomes or higher levels of consumption? What are the policy implications of this?
Does regulation work and what evidence is there to support this? Are current regulations making us healthier and, if not, what impact are they having. This session will look at some regulations that have been tried, assess the success of the regulation, and consider the reasons for the success – or failure. What are the regulations, what has the impact been on the consumer and what can we learn from this moving forward? This session addresses three main areas related to regulation. 1.) Taxation 2.) Product Labelling 3.) Retail & branding policies.
Euractiv, one of the most influential news sources in Brussels, will hold its Forum Discussion during our conference. The seated lunch will feature Ortwin Schulte, the Head of the Division for Health Policy at the German Permanent Representation and Chris Snowdon, the NSI’s main researcher being interviewed by Frédéric Simon and the audience. Please note that a separate registration is necessary for the lunch.
A study by EPICENTER member the Lithuanian Free Market Institute shows that higher taxes, heavy regulation and prohibition of consumer products drive the prevalence of shadow economies. Denmark introduced a broad tax on food products containing saturated fat in 2011 but abandoned it after it was criticised for raising the cost of living, creating an administrative burden and causing Danes to travel to neighbouring Sweden and Germany to do their shopping. More recently, over-regulation of e-cigarettes has been criticised for pushing smokers back to combustible cigarettes. This session looks at the unintended consequences of well-meaning regulation on low income consumers, public health and the shadow economy.
Are there ways to achieve public health aims other than through regulation? What are they and what is being used elsewhere? Is there any evidence to suggest that these alternative solutions are more effective than regulation? This session will also look at the Precautionary Principle and will consider whether the current framework actually discourages innovation in these areas and alternative solutions outside of government regulation. If this is the case, what can be done to ensure that the EU is an area open to innovation and alternative solutions in the future?