August 20, 2014
Ahead of next month’s crucial Scottish independence referendum, the Scottish government has put out its own paper on EU reform, designed to position the SNP on the pro-reform as opposed to the status quo side of the debate. The report has generated very little coverage (our daily press summary being the exception). It’s a mixed bag but contains some worthy ideas – we look at the key points below:
Reconnecting European citizens with the EU
“the Scottish Government considers that greater observance of the principle of subsidiarity, is one of the key means of maintaining the democratic legitimacy of the EU… it is essential that the procedure for monitoring subsidiarity by national parliaments is extended further to give an enhanced role for both sub-national and local parliaments.”
The paper notes that warns that “much more remains to be done” to alleviate concerns about EU “competence creep” and excessive “red tape”, and to “restore a balance between the burden of EU legislation and the benefits expected to derive from its implementation.” It adds that:
“the volume and complexity of the EU regulation affecting businesses in Scotland can pose a significant administrative and financial burden on them (particularly SMEs) and is threatening their ability to recover from the economic and financial crisis.”
Its recommendations include:
Consistent regulation – greater adherence to the framework set by the EU Treaties with less ‘competence creep’ without formal amendment of the Treaties,
Increased flexibility to the member States when incorporating EU law into domestic legal systems and greater use of exemption schemes, in particular for SMEs,
- Further developing the impact assessment tool and applying it at each stage of the EU legislative process where prospective legislation is subject to significant amendment by the Council and/or European Parliament,
- Focusing on overall principles rather than detailed prescriptive measures,
- An increased review of legislation which is no longer appropriate for today’s climate.
It’s also ironic since if SNP has its way, it could deliver the kind of opening of the Treaties that the Tories are hoping for.