A raft of EU regulations should be curbed in order to promote British manufacturing, a lobby group has said ahead of next month's European parliamentary elections.

In its Europe – A Manifesto for Growth proposals the Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) calls for a ‘one-in, one-out’ rule for new European regulations for businesses, similar to that in the UK, which has a one-in, two-out rule. 

In its manifesto, the body calls for clarification on the EU Working Time Directive; reform of the Agency Workers Directive to create more flexibility for SMEs, and the simplification of data protection rules.

It also calls for the ‘simplification and consolidation’ of existing health and safety legislation. 

The body has proposed a new Brussels-based red tape taskforce similar to the Better Regulation Executive established in the UK.The taskforce should produce an annual statement of the cost of any new EU proposals to business, subject to parliamentary scrutiny to throw out 'unnecessary red tape'.

Terry Scuoler, the federation's chief executive, said too many new EU directives and regulations are developed in isolation, without regard for their impact on competition and growth.

He said: ‘We strongly support Britain’s continued membership of the EU. The European Commission and the other EU institutions must now work tirelessly to support business and industry and, promote economic growth.

‘The proliferation of commissioners and departments is hampering that effort and with a newly elected parliament and commission we have an ideal opportunity to call a halt to this damaging trend.’

The European election takes place on 22 May in the UK, coinciding with local elections in England.