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British Balance of Competence Reviews, Part III: More reform than renegotiation or repatriation. EPIN [Working] Paper No. 42/December 2014. [see Abstract for I and II]

Emerson, Michael and Avery, Graham and Beblavý, Miroslav and Behrens, Arno and Blockmans, Steven. and Brady, Hugo and Lannoo, Karel. and Ferrer, Jorge Núñez and Hájková, Alžběta (2014) British Balance of Competence Reviews, Part III: More reform than renegotiation or repatriation. EPIN [Working] Paper No. 42/December 2014. [see Abstract for I and II]. [Working Paper]

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    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. Michael Emerson and Steven Blockmans, “British Balance of Competence Reviews, Part I: ‘Competences about right, so far’”, CEPS/EPIN Working Paper No. 35, October 2013 (; Michael Emerson, Steven Blockmans, Steve Peers and Michael Wriglesworth, “British Balance of Competence Reviews, Part II: Again, a huge contradiction between the evidence and Eurosceptic populism”, CEPS/EPIN Working Paper No. 40, June 2014 (

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > U.K.
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for European Policy Studies (Brussels) > EPIN Working Papers
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 13:58
    Number of Pages: 38
    Last Modified: 09 Dec 2014 13:58

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