LORDS

Review of the Balance of Competences between the UK and EU

25 March 2015

The report welcomes the Review as an ambitious piece of work, but criticises the Government for a failure to draw the 32 reports completed in the Review together in a final analysis; to promote the Review effectively; and for a lack of clarity on its true costs.   

As a result of a short inquiry, the Committee's report criticises the Government for going back on an earlier commitment to draw together the analysis in the 32 reports in a single document. This overall analysis is key if the Review is to have an impact on the wider public debate on the UK-EU relationship.

The report also calls on the Government to publish a more accurate estimate of the total cost of the review as soon as possible.

Other recommendations

The report also recommends that:

  • The next Government produces an overall analysis of the results of the Review as soon as possible after taking office, and also to make stronger efforts to publicise the results of the Review.
  • In future correspondence with parliamentary scrutiny committees, and in explanatory memoranda on EU documents, ministers should include references to the relevant sections of the Review.
  • The European Commission and other EU Member States take advantage of the reports, particularly in line with the REFIT programme being undertaken in Brussels.

Chairman's comment

Lord Boswell, Chairman of the House of Lords EU Select Committee, said:

"The Government's Review of the balance of competences between the UK and EU is to be welcomed. It could contribute to an informed public and political debate about our relationship with Europe, by making it clear where authority lies in different areas of policy.

"But if the Review is to have an impact, it must be better understood and much more widely read. We are disappointed therefore that the Government has gone back on its commitment to publish an analysis, summarising the key points in the 32 reports that make up the review in a single, readable, concise form. The next Government should get on with this immediately after the election.

"There is no point spending up to £5m of public money on an excellent Review, and then burying it. People need to know the facts about the UK-EU relationship."

Further information

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