02 Jun 2014

British Balance of Competence Reviews, Part II: Again, a huge contradiction between the evidence and Eurosceptic populism

Michael Emerson / Steven Blockmans / Steve Peers / Michael Wriglesworth

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The British government has undertaken further reviews of EU policies: this second round yet again reveals the huge contradiction between the evidence collected from independent stakeholders and the arguments put forward by Eurosceptic populists. Of the reviews surveyed here one group concerns competences that the UK prioritises (internal market and external trade); a second group of competences where the UK has a leading position as beneficiary or as shaper of EU policies (research, transport and environment); and a third group where the UK has secured exceptional flexibility for itself to opt in or opt out (Schengen, civil justice). These findings are deliberately ignored by Eurosceptic populists, but may, with sustained information campaigns, gradually enter into the common sense of the population, especially when confronted with the stark choice of an ‘in or out’ referendum.

Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS, Steven Blockmans is Senior Research Fellow at CEPS, Steve Peers is Professor of Law at Essex University, and Michael Wriglesworth is Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.