William Hague expected to launch full 'audit' of EU law
Published: 12th Jul 2012 10:31:36
The government is set to launch a "comprehensive audit" of EU legislation and its impact on the UK.
Foreign Secretary William Hague is expected to make a Commons statement from about 12:15 BST, outlining plans to scrutinise every aspect of EU law.
The audit is not due to conclude until 2014, according to a report in the Financial Times.
The coalition agreement included a pledge to hold such a review, focusing on EU rules on working hours.
"We will examine the balance of the EU's existing competences and will, in particular, work to limit the application of the Working Time Directive in the United Kingdom," the agreement said.
Conservatives have long pressed for Britain to be exempted from the European Working Time Directive and other laws they see as harming Britain's economic competitiveness.
For more than 30 years, our political class has done its best not to talk about our membership of the EU”
But Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg reportedly wants the review to be undertaken in a low-key manner to avoid souring relations with other EU member states.
Mr Hague's statement is entitled "Balance of Competencies".
The foreign secretary told the BBC in October that "excessive regulation" and "unnecessary interference into daily life" from EU institutions had contributed to a British sense of disillusionment over Europe.
But although he was in favour of repatriating powers from the European Union, he conceded that there was "no immediate prospect" of rebalancing power between the UK and the EU, he told the Andrew Marr Show.
Earlier this month, he returned to the programme to explain that the government wanted the opportunity to negotiate a "better relationship" between the UK and Brussels, which would include the return of some powers, before asking the British people to vote on the changes.
There would be a "very powerful" case for an EU referendum if member states agree a closer union, he added.
The audit is to be co-ordinated by the Cabinet Office and will invite written evidence from British businesses and EU institutions.
Ukip peer Lord Pearson of Rannoch has long campaigned for an inquiry into the "economic costs and benefits arising from our membership of the EU".
"For more than 30 years, our political class has done its best not to talk about our membership of the EU," he told the House of Lords in November.
But the audit is reportedly not going to include a cost-benefit analysis, owing to the difficulty of quantifying such aspects of EU membership as foreign affairs influence.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. William Hague expected to launch full 'audit' of EU law. [Online] (Updated 12 Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1440122-William-Hague-expected-to-launch-full-audit-of-EU-law [Accessed 22nd May 2013]
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