web analytics

UK opt-outs from EU legislation

by Mick 0 Comments

The UK has negotiated a number of exceptions (called opt-outs) from parts of EU legislation since it joined the EEC in the 1970’s.

Where the UK has negotiated such exceptions, the UK is not bound by EU rules in these areas, or has other special arrangements.

Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

The UK has special status within the Economic and Monetary Union and retains control over its own economic and monetary policy:

  • the UK is under no obligation to join the euro and will not join the euro;
  • the UK does not participate in the Banking Union, and therefore retains responsibility for the supervision of UK banks;
  • the UK cannot be penalised under EU rules, unlike other Member States who are part of the Economic and Monetary Union;

The UK’s voting rights in the European Council are suspended for issues relating to eurozone matters.

EU Budget rebate

The UK benefits from a reduction in the amount it pays into the EU budget;

Schengen Area

The UK is not a member of the Schengen border-free area, retaining control overs its own borders. (Protocol 19)

As a consequence, it is necessary to have your passport checked when entering the UK and possibly when entering other EU countries.

Justice and Home Affairs

The UK can choose whether or not to participate in new EU measures in the Justice and Home Affairs field. This means that the UK does not automatically take part in measures but can opt in to those that it considers to be in the national interest. (Protocol 21)

Charter of Fundamental Human Rights

The UK obtained a clarifying protocol, Protocol 30, which clarifies that the Charter does not extend the ability of the European Court of Justice to find UK law inconsistent with the Charter.

This exemption was obtained because of fears the Charter would infringe on UK labour law.

References:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jha-opt-in-and-schengen-opt-out-protocols

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opt-outs_in_the_European_Union#Economic_and_Monetary_Union_.E2.80.93_Denmark_and_the_United_Kingdom

The EU – A brief guide

Extracted from

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-law-and-the-balance-of-competences-a-short-guide-and-glossary

where you can also find a brief history and a glossary of terms used in the EU.

The European Union, which succeeded the European Community, was established by the EU Treaties.

The parties to the treaties are the Member States of the EU.

Under the treaties the Member States confer competences on the EU – such as the power to adopt legislation. The EU can only act within the limits of its competences.

The EU has a number of institutions, such as the European Council, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission and the European Parliament. Acting together or separately, these institutions pass laws (such as regulations, directives or decisions), which may take effect automatically in the UK’s legal systems or require the UK to pass national legislation to give effect to the EU laws.

The UK may also be affected by the treaties themselves, which may restrict what the UK can do, for example, restricting the UK’s power to limit imports from other Member States.

The Court of Justice of the European Union interprets the treaties and the laws which the EU passes and decides if Member States have abided by them.

There are two key EU treaties, which have been amended several times.

They are the Treaty on the European Union (‘TEU’, originally the Maastricht Treaty), and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’, originally called the Treaty of Rome). The treaties are effective in the UK by virtue of the European Communities Act 1972, as amended.

The full text of the Maastricht Treaty can be found on the EU web-site at

Treaty_on_european_union_en.pdf

The European Economic Community was established in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, and became the European Community (EC) in 1967. The Treaty of Rome gave the Community a number of tasks including establishing a common market and progressively approximating the economic policies of the Member States. The United Kingdom joined the Community in 1973, and confirmed that decision in a UK-wide referendum in 1975.

In 1986, the Single European Act made further provision for the establishment of the common market, now referred to as the ‘internal market’, and defined as an area without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured. The Single Market Act also added a number of new policy areas to the Community’s competence, including, for example, a specific environmental competence. The Maastricht Treaty followed in 1993. This treaty established the European Union, which had a three pillar structure, with the European Community being the first pillar, the common foreign and security policy the second pillar and justice and home affairs (covering immigration and asylum, civil judicial cooperation and police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters) the third pillar. Further changes were made by the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) and the Treaty of Nice (2000), including to the competences of the Union.

The EU entered a period of expansion, reaching 28 Member States by 2013. This prompted calls for a new Treaty. After long discussion, the Lisbon treaty was signed in 2007. This treaty renamed and amended the original treaties, collapsed the three pillar system into a single European Union, and incorporated the Charter of Fundamental Rights into the EU Treaties.

css.php