The referendum on UK membership of the EU: assessing the reform process

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Series Details (2015-16)HL30
Publication Date July 2015
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The United Kingdom Parliament House of Lords EU Committee published a report on the 28 July 2015 analysing the process leading up to the referendum on UK membership of the EU, which was due to be held before the end of 2017.

The Committee's main conclusions were:

+ The Government is right to press for the referendum to be held as soon as possible, in order to minimise uncertainty
+ It would be highly undesirable to hold the referendum during the UK Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2017, and the Government should explore alternative arrangements for the Presidency if the referendum is delayed beyond the end of 2016
+ There is uncertainty over the specific roles to be played by UK Ministers, as well as over how the internal Whitehall process will work
+ The Committee supports the Prime Minister's welcome efforts to engage with other EU Heads of Government. The Government must ensure that it continues to engage with all 27 other Member States
+ In the interests of accountability and transparency, Parliament should be kept informed of the progress of negotiations. The Government should also ensure that the devolved administrations are closely involved
+ The Government is right to seek to ensure that any reform agreement is legally binding, but should clarify the form such an agreement will take
+ The Government's desire to enhance the role of national parliaments is welcome, but it should explore means, such as the 'Green Card', by which national parliaments could make a positive, proactive contribution to EU policies and legislation.

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Related Links
United Kingdom: House of Lords: Select Committee on the European Union: News, 28.07.15:
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
ESO: Background information: European Union Referendum Bill 2015-16
EurActiv, 28.07.15: UK referendum plans a 'recipe for confusion', warn Lords
EUObserver, 29.07.15: Lack of UK chief EU negotiator 'recipe for confusion'

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