British businessman Christopher Nieper hurried through his factory as sewing machines hummed.
The 50-year-old is the second generation to head the family-firm David Nieper, which makes women’s fashion and sells them via catalogs. The boss wasn’t focusing on the people working at the sewing machines but instead fixed his gaze on a storage room that contains equipment that embodies his problem with the European Union: A stepladder.
“For health and safety reasons, we have to allow this ladder to be regularly monitored,” said Mr. Nieper as he shook his head. “Every month, someone comes, takes out the ladders, counts the stepladders. Then we have to fill out a form, make an X and so forth.”
He sees this not as a minor irritation but as a fundamental woe that illustrates the European Union’s widespread regulatory folly.
“This is an example of Brussels’ utterly superfluous compulsion to regulate,” Mr. Nieper said.