TaxPayers' Alliance sets out powers the PM should bring home from European Council

December 06, 2011 11:31 AM

The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) today (Tuesday December 6th) sets out how David Cameron has, for the first time in a generation, a serious opportunity to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU and seek the repatriation of powers back to the UK.

Click here to read the full report


Click here for the complete press release


Setting out a list of twenty policy changes that could make up any new deal between the UK and the EU, the TPA says the British Government could take immediate action on six of these areas without the need for any agreement in Brussels. The remaining fourteenwill require negotiation at the European Council on December 9th.

The twenty pieces of the policy jigsaw cannot be tackled in isolation. Britain is in a strong negotiating position and should force these issues onto the agenda.

Any package of reforms brought home from the European Council should be judged in comparison to this list; otherwise the Government could declare victory while delivering a poorer deal for taxpayers.

Click here to read the full report


Click here for the complete press release


Fourteen pieces of this jigsaw should be on the negotiating table at the European Council:

  • Bringing to an end the treaty objective of "ever closer union"

  • Repatriating the Common Agriculture Policy to national government control

  • Repatriating the Common Fisheries Policy

  • Repatriating control over International Development

  • Radical cuts to budgets where policies have limited demonstrable benefit

  • Slashing the UK budgetary share

  • Re-establishing the Social Chapter opt-out

  • Ensuring UK Parliamentary sovereignty overrides EU law

  • Dropping UK participation in EU defence integration

  • Introducing flexibility involving Justice and Home Affairs, including Asylum and Immigration control

  • Restoration of UK Government powers over taxation

  • Greater freedom for Britain to enter bilateral trading agreements globally

  • Rowing back from costly EU space ambitions, particularly the Galileo programme

  • Triggering massive reform to the structures of the EU itself


There are also six areas where immediate action can be taken by the British Government and without the need for any agreement in Brussels:

  • Commissioning a measured, independent and trustworthy cost-benefit analysis of EU membership

  • Demonstrating an intent and capability to act unilaterally if necessary to improve Britain’s position

  • Appointing a Cabinet Minister to review the acquis communautaire

  • Requiring EU-sourced legislation to be printed on differently-coloured paper, and to carry a cost-benefit summary that can be compared with the EU original estimate, in order to avoid ‘gold-plating’ (extra red tape from British civil servants)

  • Securing transparency in Westminster over EU laws

  • Improved use of the national scrutiny reserve, the Parliamentary veto


This list should be considered a toolbox for the British negotiating team and should help inform the backbench business debate to be held in Parliament on Thursday 8th December. Senior Conservative Ministers have long argued for a repatriation of powers; now that they have the chance, they must exploit this opportunity to make changes in the long term interests of Britain.

Tinkering with individual treaties is not enough. In the history of negotiation with the EU Britain has experienced a number of false dawns where despite winning a concession or opt-out from legislation, the policy has been enacted via the back door (such as the Working Time directive). There is no reason why Britain cannot fundamentally renegotiate its position; various nations already have differing relationships with the EU.

Click here to read the full report


Click here for the complete press release


Dr Lee Rotherham, Research Fellow of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

"The British people are crying out for the Government to stand up to Brussels and reclaim powers that should never have been surrendered in the first place. Senior ministers who have long called for a repatriation of powers now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to negotiate with their European counterparts from a position of strength. This report sets out a comprehensive list of reasonable demands that David Cameron should take into the negotiating chamber alongside a number of steps that can be implemented immediately at home, without recourse to Brussels. The Prime Minister has an opportunity to bring home a wonderful early Christmas present for British taxpayers, it is against these benchmarks that his ability to deliver for Britain will be judged."

The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) today (Tuesday December 6th) sets out how David Cameron has, for the first time in a generation, a serious opportunity to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU and seek the repatriation of powers back to the UK.

Click here to read the full report


Click here for the complete press release


Setting out a list of twenty policy changes that could make up any new deal between the UK and the EU, the TPA says the British Government could take immediate action on six of these areas without the need for any agreement in Brussels. The remaining fourteenwill require negotiation at the European Council on December 9th.

The twenty pieces of the policy jigsaw cannot be tackled in isolation. Britain is in a strong negotiating position and should force these issues onto the agenda.

Any package of reforms brought home from the European Council should be judged in comparison to this list; otherwise the Government could declare victory while delivering a poorer deal for taxpayers.

Click here to read the full report


Click here for the complete press release


Fourteen pieces of this jigsaw should be on the negotiating table at the European Council:

  • Bringing to an end the treaty objective of "ever closer union"

  • Repatriating the Common Agriculture Policy to national government control

  • Repatriating the Common Fisheries Policy

  • Repatriating control over International Development

  • Radical cuts to budgets where policies have limited demonstrable benefit

  • Slashing the UK budgetary share

  • Re-establishing the Social Chapter opt-out

  • Ensuring UK Parliamentary sovereignty overrides EU law

  • Dropping UK participation in EU defence integration

  • Introducing flexibility involving Justice and Home Affairs, including Asylum and Immigration control

  • Restoration of UK Government powers over taxation

  • Greater freedom for Britain to enter bilateral trading agreements globally

  • Rowing back from costly EU space ambitions, particularly the Galileo programme

  • Triggering massive reform to the structures of the EU itself


There are also six areas where immediate action can be taken by the British Government and without the need for any agreement in Brussels:

  • Commissioning a measured, independent and trustworthy cost-benefit analysis of EU membership

  • Demonstrating an intent and capability to act unilaterally if necessary to improve Britain’s position

  • Appointing a Cabinet Minister to review the acquis communautaire

  • Requiring EU-sourced legislation to be printed on differently-coloured paper, and to carry a cost-benefit summary that can be compared with the EU original estimate, in order to avoid ‘gold-plating’ (extra red tape from British civil servants)

  • Securing transparency in Westminster over EU laws

  • Improved use of the national scrutiny reserve, the Parliamentary veto


This list should be considered a toolbox for the British negotiating team and should help inform the backbench business debate to be held in Parliament on Thursday 8th December. Senior Conservative Ministers have long argued for a repatriation of powers; now that they have the chance, they must exploit this opportunity to make changes in the long term interests of Britain.

Tinkering with individual treaties is not enough. In the history of negotiation with the EU Britain has experienced a number of false dawns where despite winning a concession or opt-out from legislation, the policy has been enacted via the back door (such as the Working Time directive). There is no reason why Britain cannot fundamentally renegotiate its position; various nations already have differing relationships with the EU.

Click here to read the full report


Click here for the complete press release


Dr Lee Rotherham, Research Fellow of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

"The British people are crying out for the Government to stand up to Brussels and reclaim powers that should never have been surrendered in the first place. Senior ministers who have long called for a repatriation of powers now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to negotiate with their European counterparts from a position of strength. This report sets out a comprehensive list of reasonable demands that David Cameron should take into the negotiating chamber alongside a number of steps that can be implemented immediately at home, without recourse to Brussels. The Prime Minister has an opportunity to bring home a wonderful early Christmas present for British taxpayers, it is against these benchmarks that his ability to deliver for Britain will be judged."

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