The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has today launched a “review of the balance of competences of the EU as it affects the United Kingdom”. From William Hague’s statement to Parliament today:
“The review will be an audit of what the EU does and how it affects us in the United Kingdom. It will look at where competence lies, how the EU’s competences, whether exclusive, shared or supporting, are used and what that means for our national interest. These are issues that affect all EU member states and could have a bearing on the future shape of the EU as a whole.
The review will be a valuable exercise for deepening understanding in Britain of the nature of our relationship with the European Union and how it has evolved over time, and will provide a constructive and serious British contribution to the public debate across Europe about how the EU can be reformed, modernised and improved. The review will be taken forward in a comprehensive and analytical way, jointly co-ordinated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Cabinet Office, and the Minister for Europe and I will answer to Parliament for it.
Government Departments will undertake the review for the areas of EU competence for which they are responsible. For example, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will be responsible for conducting the review on the EU’s competence on fisheries, and will be jointly responsible with the Department of Energy and Climate Change for the EU’s competence on the environment. The review will be an outward-facing exercise, both domestically and internationally, and Departments will be tasked with consulting and inviting evidence from everyone with a knowledge of and interest in the exercise of the EU’s competences, including not only Committees of Parliament and the devolved Administrations but businesses, civil society, other interested parties and individuals with expertise in and experience of each area.”
The accompanying Command Paper is here. The review will conclude in 2014.