We're voting for a new European Parliament this month. For the first time this will include the election of MEPs from Croatia.
Depending upon who you talk to between 30 percent and 70 percent of UK laws and regulations originate from the European Union. This is especially true of rules affecting how we do business online.
Does Britain's membership of the European Union make it easier or more difficult for businesses to trade electronically across member states?
Think about it.
For example, a new EU data protection regulation is on its way which will be implemented directly into UK law. Why do we need a new law?
It's well-argued that technology is changing at such a rapid pace, especially with social media, that companies and other organisations need to become more accountable for managing our personal privacy. After all, our personal information is valuable to companies. If Facebook, LinkedIn or many other social networking sites were unable to trade our personal information, they would have to charge us to join them. Their business model would break. The pan European data protection regime is way out of date - the original directive goes back to 1995. The reason why we're getting a regulation rather than a new directive is simply because it takes too long to implement a directive - technology now changes almost overnight.
— Will Roebuck (@ERADARtweet) May 2, 2014
But does having one regime which is applicable across every EU member state provide legal certainty for small and medium-sized business? Can we have complete harmonization of rules in Europe?
No, we can't! The Digital Single market is not complete and will never be so. We have different legal systems, languages, cultures and historical traditions that cannot be merged into one 'nice academic single market objective' dreamt up by bureaucrats that have probably never worked in a real business environment. So, I'd like to see the next European Parliament bring the European Union back down to earth. Frankly, Brussels is not in touch with what's going in business at local level. It should be because it's the SMEs which pay for their imposing offices and enormous budgets.
Will you be voting in the European Parliament's 2014 elections this week? How will this infographic change over the next few years? Will the United Kingdom still be a member? And will Scotland have its independence and have to apply to join the European Union?
And what will you, the entrepreneur and small business owner get out of the new political landscape? More grief and market uncertainty, or smarter government in tune with local issues and a drive for political and economic reform?
The choice is yours!