British Balance of Competence Reviews, Part III: More Reform than Renegotiation or Repatriation

EPIN Papers, No. 42

38 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2014

See all articles by Michael Emerson

Michael Emerson

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Graham Avery

University of Oxford - Saint Antony’s College

Miroslav Beblavý

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Arno Behrens

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Steven Blockmans

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS); University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance

Hugo Brady

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Alžběta Hájková

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Karel Lannoo

Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels

Jorge Núñez Ferrer

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Date Written: December 8, 2014

Abstract

This paper, the third in a series for a CEPS project on the ‘The British Question’, is pegged on an ambitious exercise by the British government to review all the competences of the European Union on the basis of evidence submitted by independent stakeholders. The reviews considered in this paper cover the following EU policies: the single market for services, financial markets, the free movement of people, cohesion, energy, agriculture, fisheries, competition, social and employment policies, and fundamental rights.

The declared objective of Prime Minister Cameron is to secure a ‘new settlement’ between the UK and the EU. From political speeches in the UK one can identify three different types of possible demand: reform of EU policies, renegotiation of the UK’s specific terms of membership, and repatriation of competences from the EU back to the member states.

As most of the reviews are now complete, three points are becoming increasingly clear:

i) The reform agenda - past, present or future - concerns virtually every branch of EU policy, including several cases reviewed here that are central to stated UK economic interests. The argument that the EU is ‘unreformable’ is shown to be a myth.

ii) The highly sensitive cases of immigration from the EU and social policies may translate into requests for renegotiation of specific conditions for the UK, but further large-scale opt-outs, as in the case of the euro and justice and home affairs, are implausible.

iii) While demands for repatriation of EU competences are voiced in general terms in public debate in the UK, no specific proposals emerge from the evidence as regards competences at the level at which they are identified in the treaties, and there is no chance of achieving consensus for such ideas among member states.

Keywords: Britain, EU, The British Question, UK

Suggested Citation

Emerson, Michael and Avery, Graham and Beblavý, Miroslav and Behrens, Arno and Blockmans, Steven and Brady, Hugo and Hájková, Alžběta and Lannoo, Karel and Ferrer, Jorge Núñez, British Balance of Competence Reviews, Part III: More Reform than Renegotiation or Repatriation (December 8, 2014). EPIN Papers, No. 42, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2537316

Michael Emerson (Contact Author)

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) ( email )

1 Place du Congres
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

Graham Avery

University of Oxford - Saint Antony’s College ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

Miroslav Beblavý

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) ( email )

1 Place du Congres
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

Arno Behrens

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) ( email )

1 Place du Congres, 1000
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

Steven Blockmans

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) ( email )

1 Place du Congres, 1000
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance ( email )

P.O.Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

Hugo Brady

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Alžběta Hájková

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) ( email )

1 Place du Congres, 1000
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

Karel Lannoo

Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels ( email )

Jorge Núñez Ferrer

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

1 Place du Congres, 1000
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

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