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The European Court of Justice looks set to alienate half all the population tomorrow

By Jonathan Isaby

EU-FLAG Sometimes you have to wonder if the institutions of the European Union are going out of their way to discredit their whole project.

Tomorrow it looks like we are going to be seeing another example of the European Court of Justice casting judgement on matters over which there is no justification for supra-national law, in a move which will surely only go to drive further people into the Better Off Out camp.

The ECJ - the highest court of the European Union - is expected to scrap the insurance industry’s opt-out from the EU’s 2004 Gender Directive, which will mean insurers can no longer offer different products and prices to men and women based on their gender.

This means that it would become illegal for companies to offer cheaper car insurance to women, who can currently generally pay between £500 and £1,000 less than men between the ages for 17 and 26 for a premium, based on their likelihood to have an accident.

Stephen Booth, the research director of Open Europe, says:

“Giving EU judges free rein to rewrite laws that the UK Government has signed up to in good faith can cause hugely damaging and unforeseen consequences. That these judges would magically rule that young women should pay more in the name of equality is simply perverse. Instead of making prices fairer between men and women, this ruling would increase costs for consumers taken as a whole.”

“This is a perfect illustration of how giving ever greater powers to unaccountable EU judges does not only come with a democratic cost, but can also have massive economic costs for individual consumers and the wider UK economy. Clearly, we need some checks and balances in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again and again in other areas of EU law.”

But in fact, it's not just women who will be crying foul. Because men have a shorter life expectancy than women, they would be worse off in future when it comes to swapping their pension pot for an annuity.

So nobody's going to be happy.

Open Europe has a briefing note on the case here.


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