Press release

Launch of third set of consultations on Balance of Competences between EU and UK

Minister for Europe today launched third round consultations in the Balance of Competences Review looking at the impact of EU action on UK

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


The Balance of Competences Review is part of a Coalition commitment to analyse and examine the UK’s relationship with the European Union (EU). The review aims to deepen public and Parliamentary understanding of the nature of our EU membership and to provide a constructive and serious contribution to the wider European debate about modernising, reforming and improving the EU.

Welcoming representatives from business, think tanks, academia, and civil society to the Foreign Office, the Minister for Europe, David Lidington, invited contributions to the latest consultations in the review. Speaking at the event, Mr Lidington said:

In July this year we published the first six reports in the Balance of Competences Review. Drawing on more than 500 pieces of evidence, these reports provided a detailed picture of the impact of EU action on the UK. Many of the themes that emerged from these reports – the regulatory burden, the importance of protecting unanimity in certain areas to safeguard our national interest, and the positive economic impact of the Single Market - chime with ongoing discussions I am having with my counterparts at home and abroad about how we work together to make a more competitive, flexible and democratically accountable EU.

In light of these challenges, it is more important than ever that our national debate is able to draw on high quality evidence from those with experience of how the EU impacts on our national interests. That is why I am glad to be launching the next round of consultations in the Balance of Competences Review. This is your chance to have your say on how EU membership impacts you and to make sure that your views are heard.

More than 60 people gathered at the FCO today to listen to the Minister for Europe discuss the important contribution that the Review is making to the wider debate on reforming the European Union. As well as hearing from the Minister for Europe, attendees from organisations including the Institute of Directors, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, BT, and the National Council of Voluntary Organisations were able to speak with senior officials from individual government departments to hear more about the ten areas under consideration in the third semester.

Gwyn Dolben, Head of European Affairs, Energy UK said:

Energy UK very much welcomes the launch of the third semester of the Balance of Competences Review. This morning’s event was a useful chance to talk to the officials involved and to hear from the Minister for Europe about the messages emerging from the first set of reports. EU laws on the single market, energy policy and financial services all have a big effect on the UK energy companies and we will certainly be contributing actively to the next phase of the Review.

Mark Hatcher, Director of Representation and Policy, the Bar Council said:

This is a major undertaking that the Coalition Government has launched and the Bar Council, on behalf of the Bar of England and Wales, will want to respond as fully as it can. We look forward to establishing our priorities for this semester and today’s event has been an excellent opportunity to help us do that.

Today’s event marks the beginning of the third round of consultation in the Review. Calls for evidence will be open for submissions until January 2014. Reports this semester are being produced on: The Single Market: The Free Movement of Services; Financial Services and the Free Movement of Capital; Agriculture; Fisheries; Competition and Consumer Policy; Cohesion; EU Budget; Social and Employment; and Fundamental Rights. Consultations on the nine second semester reports closed in August and reports will be published this Winter. The final round of consultations will launch in Spring 2014.

Notes to editors

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Published 21 October 2013