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UK-EU Facilitation Forum

With an EU in-out referendum set to take place in the UK before the end of 2017, most likely in autumn 2016, this Forum has been established to bring together experts and policy-makers under Chatham House rules to pragmatically work out potential compromises in the UK’s EU reform agenda, with the active input from all Forum members. The aim is to feed the independent analysis resulting from these meetings into the negotiations in order to facilitate a reform agenda that both sides can accept and which can thus have a decisive and positive impact on the referendum. 

The ‘UK-EU Facilitation Forum’ will consist of three closed high-level events and one public event, covering different aspects of the reform agenda, running until mid-2016, and is supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the King Baudouin Foundation. The topics covered will follow the headings listed in Prime Minister Cameron’s letter to President Tusk: 

  • Sovereignty: seeking an opt-out for the UK from the “ever closer union” in a formal, legally-binding and irreversible way, blocking powers for national parliaments and full implementation of subsidiarity, as well as preservation of opt-outs for the UK on Justice and Home Affairs;
  • Competitiveness: including cuts to the total burden of regulation on business, the trade agenda and further action to boost the freedom of movement of capital, goods and services;
  • Economic Governance: legally binding principles that safeguard the operation of the Union for all 28 Member States, i.e. protecting the interests of non-Eurozone members;
  • Immigration: including a four year period before EU nationals qualify for in-work benefits, no child benefit being sent overseas and addressing ECJ judgments that are seen to have widened the scope of free movement in a way that made it more difficult to tackle abuse of free movement.

The UK-EU Facilitation Forum continues the work of the EPC on EU-UK relations. The EPC has been closely following the evolution of the UK’s relations with the EU over the past few years and publications under this theme are available here.

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