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European Union

House of Lords written question – answered on 3rd November 2014.

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Photo of Lord Stoddart of Swindon Lord Stoddart of Swindon Independent Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that when they wish to repatriate powers from the European Union they can do so without contravening European law.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to repatriate powers from the European Union; and if so, which powers.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of recent comments by Mr José Manuel Barroso, they will publish details of what powers they consider can be repatriated from the European Union to the United Kingdom which would not be illegal under the existing treaties.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

The Government is committed to reforming the EU to the benefit of all Member States, to make it more competitive, democratically accountable and fair for those inside and outside the Eurozone. Political parties have set out their position on the question of the appropriate exercise of competence in the EU. The Government’s policy is clear: we need an EU where decisions are taken at the right level, with issues best left to member states decided at the national level. We have already shown that such reform is possible: cutting the EU budget; ending the UK’s bailout obligations; cutting red tape in line with Business Taskforce recommendations; ensuring our fish stocks are managed regionally rather than centrally, agreeing three major Trade Agreements and launching trade talks with the US.

Support for EU reform is growing: this summer, the President-elect of the European Commission committed to explore improving the interaction between the Commission and national parliaments, which he recognised have a key role to play in enforcing the principle of subsidiarity; to completing the internal market in products and services; to creating the right regulatory environment and promoting a climate of entrepreneurship and job creation; and to working for a deal that “accepts the specificities of the UK in the EU, while allowing the Eurozone to integrate further.” The European Council also recognised the need for reform. It concluded in June that there was a need to protect the right to free movement from “misuse or fraudulent claims” and that “the concept of ever closer union allows for different paths of integration.”

The Government’s proposals for EU reform will continue to respect the UK’s obligations under the existing Treaties.

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