The City is Europe’s financial centre and the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU) is of strategic importance to the financial and related professional services industry. Business opinion both within and beyond our industry is that continuing membership is important to Britain’s competitiveness, but reform is essential.
We are not alone in calling for the EU to work better for all of its 28 Member States and 500 million people. The British Government is committed to negotiating reforms ahead of a referendum; other Member States have also made clear their support for reform. The Juncker Commission has acknowledged the need for reform by its re-organisation of the Commission’s work and the aim to be ‘big on big things and small on small things’.
TheCityUK has set out its EU reform agenda in EU reform – detailed proposals for a more competitive Europe. Recommendations made in this paper are both achievable and cumulative; some of the individual measures are small in themselves, but taken together, they will enable Europe to do less, but in a more efficient and effective manner and create a deep and strong Single Market, open to the world.Most importantly short- to-medium-term priorities can be secured without the need for treaty change.
The cumulative impact of many small reforms will be greater than the sum of its parts. Reforms are not about ‘more Europe’ or ‘less Europe’ but a ‘better, more thoughtful Europe’. The key reform proposals are:
A commitment to the completion of the Single Market, especially in Capital, Digital and Financial Services, alongside the production of an action plan that sets out specific proposals to eliminate non-tariff barriers by a certain deadline;
Endorsement of the Commission’s Better Regulation Agenda while stressing the need to go further, especially regarding impact assessments for all EU institutions conducted by an independent Regulatory Scrutiny Body;
Ensuring the EU remains open for business from outside the EU by making the trade agenda a bigger priority, e.g. by reconsidering the EU’s third country regime and the resources allocated to negotiating trade deals;
Protecting the integrity of the Single Market and putting the protection of the interests of euro-outs on a safe legal basis. Better transposition and enforcement of European legislation should also be made a priority; and
Long-term strategic reform proposals also need to be considered in the long-run, especially re-examining the meaning of ‘ever closer union’.
For more information about our work on EU reform please contact us.