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Factsheet 5 - A reform agenda for the UK's future

  • The EU is not perfect. The UK must use its influence to shape the Union to ensure it maximises the potential benefits for the UK and supports our global trading future.
  • We need an EU that is open, competitive and outward looking, and which gets the balance right between the Eurozone and the wider single market as well as between the EU institutions and all 25 member states.
  • Below are signs of progress which would show that the EU is moving in the right direction.

The EU must be outward looking

1. The EU should negotiate a high quality Free Trade Agreement with Japan and sign the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with the US

2. The EU should push forward a more dynamic trade agenda with key emerging markets to support member state trading ambitions.

The EU must be an open and competitive, ensuring its regulatory environment is globally competitive and not unduly burdensome

3. EU leaders should organise a high-level Symposium by the end of 2015, to give political impetus to the completion of the Single Market, especially in services.

4. The new Commission should set a target for the reduction of the regulatory burden to be achieved within its 5 year term.

5. The new Commission’s work plan should include clear commitments to improve the way the impact of proposals is accessed.

The EU needs to function more effectively, prioritising growth and better respecting the boundaries set by member states

6. EU leaders should adopt a declaration that explicitly calls for steps to be taken to ensure that further Eurozone integration does not undermine the Single Market and protects non-members from discrimination.

7. Procedural safeguards such as the double majority voting rules created for the Single Supervisory Mechanism should be introduced for remaining supervisors in the upcoming review of the European Supervisory Authorities and the proposed MiFID legal safeguard should act as a precedent in other areas of legislation where there is a threat to the integrity of the Single Market. Legal safeguards should be enshrined in any new Treaty to ensure the benefits of the Single Market to the UK are maintained.

8. Member state leaders must work to restore the principle of subsidiarity, where decisions are taken by member states wherever possible. Until this is fully restored, there should be a moratorium on any new regulation where adequate legislation already exists or there is a strong argument for national decision-making, including in the area of social and employment law. The opt-out from provisions of the Working Time Directive should be made permanent

9. The Commission should reduce the number of portfolios in order to increase the number of Commissioners in key priority areas for the EU. The use of senior and junior Commissioners could be used to effectively push progress in a number of areas within a portfolio – such as having one Commissioner each in DG Trade for trade deals with developed and emerging markets.

10. The EU must keep its budget in check, rationalise its bureaucracy, and focus funding on supporting a dynamic and competitive economy.

The UK must reform how it engages with EU institutions and improve engagement with EU issues at home

11. The UK government must set out a detailed EU engagement strategy. This should include an ambitious target for UK presence in EU institutions in the medium-term ‘Reversing the long-term decline of UK nationals in the staff of the European Commission’ as well as comprehensive plans for how government intends to engage with the increasingly powerful European Parliament to best support UK interests.

12. The UK parliament should strengthen informal ties with like-minded national parliaments and seek to use the Yellow Card Procedure more frequently, which allows national parliaments to block EU-level proposals.