Announcement

Foreign Secretary Written Ministerial Statement on the Balance of Competences of the European Union

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Full text of the Foreign Secretary's statement updating Parliament on the Balance of Competences of the European Union.

I wish to inform the House that, further to my oral statement at the launch of the Balance of Competences Review (Official Report 12 July 2012, Column 468), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is today publishing the timetable for the review including departmental responsibility for the reports into each individual area of competence.

The review will complete its work during 2014 and will look at the scope of the EU’s competences (the power to act in particular areas conferred on it by the EU Treaties) as they affect the UK, how they are used, and what that means for Britain and our national interests.

The review will be divided into four semesters, each containing six to ten reports. This will allow reports on related topics to be grouped together. The reports from each semester will be published at the end of that semester. If necessary, changes to this timetable will be made in order to take account of any events which could impact upon the timing of a report.

The Semesters are:

  • Semester One: Autumn 2012 - Summer 2013
  • Semester Two: Spring 2013 - Winter 2013
  • Semester Three: Autumn 2013 - Summer 2014
  • Semester Four: Spring 2014 - Autumn 2014

The first semester reviews will be:

  • an overview on the Single Market;
  • taxation;
  • animal health and welfare and food safety;
  • health;
  • development; and
  • foreign policy.

The Single Market encompasses such a broad area of competence that it is being split, with further reports on the four freedoms - goods, persons, services and capital - in semesters two and three.

Departments will take a rigorous approach to the collection and analysis of evidence. The government department leading each review will, at the appropriate time, publish a Call for Evidence which will set out the scope of their report and include a series of broad questions on which they would like contributors to focus.The Calls for Evidence for first semester reports will be published shortly and will be available through the FCO website and through the website of the department leading each review.The reports into the first six competences will be published in the summer of 2013, along with the evidence received (subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act).

Government departments will consult widely, including Parliament and its committees, business, the Devolved Administrations, and civil society in order to obtain evidence to contribute to their analysis of the issues. Our EU partners and the EU institutions will also be invited to contribute evidence to the review.

The result will be a comprehensive, thorough and detailed analysis of where competence lies and what it means for the United Kingdom. It will aid our understanding of the nature of our EU membership; and it will provide a constructive and serious contribution to the wider European debate about modernizing, reforming and improving the EU.The review will not produce specific policy recommendations.

I am placing the timetable in the Library of the House.It will also be published on the Balance of competences review pages on Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.

Report Title

Departmental lead

Semester 1 (Autumn ‘12 - Summer ‘13)

1

Internal Market: Synopsis

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

2

Taxation

HM Treasury

3

Animal Health and Welfare and Food safety

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

4

Health

Department of Health

5

Development

Department for International Development

6

Foreign Policy

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Semester 2 (Spring ‘13 - Autumn ‘13)

7

Internal Market: Freedom of movement of Goods

HM Revenue & Customs

8

Internal Market: Free movement of persons

Home Office

9

Asylum and Immigration

Home Office

10

Trade and Investment

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

11

Environment

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

12

Transport

Department for Transport

13

Research and Development

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

14

Tourism, Culture and Sport

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

15

Civil Justice

Ministry of Justice

Semester 3 (Autumn ‘13 - Spring ‘14)

16

Internal Market: Services

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

17

Internal Market: Capital

HM Treasury

18

EU Budget

HM Treasury

19

Cohesion

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

20

Social and Employment

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

21

Agriculture

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

22

Fisheries

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

23

Competition

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

24

Energy

Department of Energy and Climate Change

25

Fundamental Rights

Ministry of Justice

Semester 4 (Spring ‘14 - Autumn ‘14)

26

Economic and Monetary Union

HM Treasury

27

Health & safety and consumer protection

Health and Safety Executive

28

Police and Criminal Justice

Home Office

29

Education

Department for Education

30

Enlargement

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

31

Administrative cooperation, citizenship, information rights and statistics.

Cabinet Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Justice, UK Statistics Authority

32

Subsidiarity, Proportionality and Article 352

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Note: This order and sequencing may be subject to change as the review progresses