Government – guidance

Review of the balance of competences

The review of the balance of competences will be an audit of what the EU does and how it affects the UK.

Introduction

The government is carrying out a review of the EU’s competences, which the Foreign Secretary launched in July 2012. This is an audit of what the EU does and how it affects the UK. It is important that Britain has a clear sense of how our national interests interact with the EU’s roles, particularly at a time of great change for the EU.

Government departments will consult Parliament and its committees, business, the devolved administrations, and civil society to look in depth at how the EU’s competences (the power to act in particular areas conferred on it by the EU Treaties) work in practice.

Our European partners and the EU institutions will also contribute evidence to the review, and it will examine issues that are of interest across the EU, seeking to improve understanding and engagement.

Government departments will then report on areas of competence and their findings will be published during the course of the review.

This short guide and glossary to EU law explains some terms and concepts commonly used in reference to EU law.

How will the review work?

The review will be broken down into a number of individual reports covering specific areas of EU competence. Departments will prepare reports drawing on evidence submitted to them.

They will do so over the course of 4 semesters:

  • Autumn 2012 to Summer 2013
  • Spring 2013 to Winter 2013
  • Autumn 2013 to Summer 2014
  • Spring 2014 to Autumn 2014

At the start of each semester, the relevant departments will launch calls for evidence setting out the scope of their work and requesting input from a range of interested parties, including members of the public with relevant expertise or experience. At the end of each semester, the reports will be published online.

The list and sequencing of reports in the table below is subject to revision if circumstances change.

Read the Balance of competences FAQs (MS Word Document, 20.6KB)

How to feed in to the review

Once published, links to calls for evidence will be added to the table below.

Each call will include a series of broad questions on which your evidence should be focused.

Your evidence should ideally be objective, factual information about the impact or effect of EU competence in your area of expertise.

If you wish to submit evidence once the call has issued, please follow the links below and respond in the format requested by the given deadline.

We are looking for objective, factual information about the impact or effect of the competence in your area of expertise.

We expect to publish all evidence we receive at the same time as reports are published in order to deepen public understanding and facilitate debate, unless there is compelling reason not to do so.

We will publish the name of your organisation unless you ask us not to.

If you are writing on behalf of an organisation or individually, we will not publish your own name unless you indicate you wish it included. If you ask us to keep your contribution confidential, we will try to meet that wish provided there is good reason for this.

If we receive a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for information which you have asked us to keep confidential, we will seek to use the appropriate FOIA exemptions to withhold that information. But you should be aware that it is possible that we might be ordered to release it. In the meantime before the publication of evidence we will be likely to seek to use section 22 FOIA to exempt material from any FOIA requests in order to allow us to focus on collating and analysing evidence received.

Welsh language translations are available on request.

Semester 1

The reports in the first semester were published on 22 July 2013. You can read the reports, and the evidence submitted at the links below.

Autumn 2012 to Summer 2013.

  Report title Departmental lead
1 Single Market 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 Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Department for International Development
6 Foreign Policy Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Semester 2

The reports in the second semester were published on 13 February 2014. You can read the reports, and the evidence submitted at the links below.

Spring 2013 to Winter 2013.

  Report title Departmental lead
7 Single Market: Free Movement of Goods HM Revenue and Customs
8 Asylum and Non-EU Migration Home Office
9 Trade and Investment Department for Business Innovation and Skills
10 Environment and Climate Change Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
11 Transport Department for Transport
12 Research and Development Department for Business Innovation and Skills
13 Culture, Tourism and Sport Department for Culture, Media and Sport
14 Civil Judicial Cooperation Ministry of Justice
15 Single Market: Free Movement of Persons (Published with Semester 3 reports July 2014) Home Office

Semester 3

Autumn 2013 to Summer 2014.

  Report title Departmental lead
16 Single Market: Free Movement of Services Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
17 Single Market: Financial Services and the Free Movement of 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 and Consumer Policy Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
24 Energy Department of Energy and Climate Change
25 Fundamental Rights Ministry of Justice

Semester 4

Spring 2014 to Autumn 2014.

  Report title Departmental lead
26 Economic and Monetary Policy HM Treasury
27 Police and Criminal Justice Home Office, Ministry of Justice
28 Information Rights Ministry of Justice
29 Education, vocational training and youth Department for Education
30 Enlargement Foreign and Commonwealth Office
31 Voting, Consular and Statistics Cabinet Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, National Statistician’s Office
32 Subsidiarity and Proportionality Foreign and Commonwealth Office