Foreign Secretary William Hague sets out plan for Britain to claw back powers from the European Union

 

The Conservatives today began the process of trying to claw back powers to Britain from the European Union in another step towards a referendum on the terms of the UK’s membership.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, announced that the balance of power between London and  Brussels in 32 policy areas will be reviewed to see “what that means for Britain and our national interest.” The first six areas will be the single market; taxation; animal welfare and food safety; health; overseas aid and foreign  policy.

Although Eurosceptic Conservative MPs hope the review will pave the way for some powers to be handed back to Britain, early progress looks unlikely. Mr Hague admitted the exercise would not be completed before the autumn of 2014, adding: “The review will not produce specific policy recommendations.”

The Liberal Democrats are happy for a decision-making “audit” to take place but blocked the idea of drawing up a shopping list of powers to be repatriated.  They believe such demands would be dismissed by other EU members.

Instead, the Tories’ demands are expected to feature in the party’s manifesto at the 2015 election. They would form the basis of a “new settlement” with Europe David Cameron would seek if his party won a majority.  The demands would be tabled during discussions on a new EU treaty to entrench fiscal union among the 17 eurozone members, with the results of Britain’s renegotiation put to the country in a referendum.

Speaking in Berlin today, Mr Hague was at odds with his German hosts, who want closer integration. The Foreign Secretary said: “The eurozone countries must do what they must to resolve the crisis, but the way forward for the EU as a whole is not more centralization and uniformity but of flexibility and variable geometry…..There are obvious issues for countries not in the eurozone, for whom it will never be acceptable to have a situation in which the eurozone acts as a bloc in a way that determines the outcomes before the others have even met.”

But Guido Westerwelle, the German Foreign Minister, told the  same conference the 27-nation EU, not just the 17-strong eurozone,  must deepen its co-operation. ”It is well known that diamonds are only formed under great pressure. And apparently good political solutions also need extreme pressure,” he said. “The pressure stemming from the current problems must now be put to use.“

Britain is seen as the main stumbling block to a deal on the EU budget for 2014-20 at a crucial summit next month. Mr Cameron will argue for a real terms freeze, limiting spending to about Euros 900bn over the seven-year period, but Germany is prepared to allow the ceiling to rise to about Euros 956bn. The European Commission wants to spend more than Euros 1 trillion.

At today’s Cabinet meeting, Nick Clegg backed Mr Cameron’s stance, saying the Government should stand up for the British taxpayer. At a time when national governments were tightening their belts, the EU should not be seeking an above-inflation budget increase, he said.

 

Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments