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British Government and Politics (JN302) The European Union (EU) and International Relations.

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Presentation on theme: "British Government and Politics (JN302) The European Union (EU) and International Relations."— Presentation transcript:

1 British Government and Politics (JN302) The European Union (EU) and International Relations

2  1. History of Britain and the EU  2. European Commission  3. European Parliament  4. Council of Ministers (Council of the European Union)  5. European Court of Justice  6. European Council  7. The Euro  8. The Council of Europe  9. Current Issues Lecture Outline

3  1951 – Treaty of Paris – Creation of European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)  1957 – Treaties of Rome – Creation of European Economic Community (EEC)  1960s – De Gaulle rebuffs Britain’s application (1963, 1967)  1973 – Britain (+Den, Ire) members of EEC  1992 – Maastricht Treaty – deepening of political union, naming of European Union (EU). History of Britain and the EU

4  1997 – Amsterdam Treaty – consumer and environmental protection, Charter on Fundamental Workers’ Rights.  2009 – Lisbon Treaty – followed abandoned ‘EU Constitution’. Gave EU ability to sign international treaties, extended role of directly elected European Parliament.  History of Britain and the EU

5  1975 – 67% of voters supported the Wilson Labour government’s referendum on Europe. Division within parties over free trade. Thatcher yes supporter in the 1975 referendum (supported single market) but then opposed giving up Sterling and giving greater political powers to the EU.  v=U2f8nYMCO2I v=U2f8nYMCO2I

6  Executive government and civil service of EU.  Based in Brussels.  28 commissioners appointed (not elected) by member nations but supposed to represent pan European interests.  Primary institution responsible for initiating policy.  Perceived lack of accountability referred to as a ‘democratic deficit’. European Commission

7  Commission issues:  Regulations – similar to British primary legislation, once passed apply to all member states  Directives – broader ‘end results’ and up to states how it is implemented  Decisions – binding laws on groups or authorities in a particular state (similar to private bills)  Regulations and directives scrutinized by European Parliament and Council of Ministers before they can be enacted. European Commission

8  Current President of European Commission is Jose Manuel Barroso (former PM of Portugal)

9 European Commission  Catherine Ashton (former leader of the House of Lords), High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Played major role in Iran nuclear talks.  news/worldnews/europe/eu / /Iran-nuclear-deal- takes-Catherine-Ashton- from-zero-to-hero.html news/worldnews/europe/eu / /Iran-nuclear-deal- takes-Catherine-Ashton- from-zero-to-hero.html

10  Since 1979 fully elected body (proportional representation based on party list system).  Current membership is 754 but it will be 751 this year after European elections.  Meets 3 weeks in Brussels and a week in Strasbourg.  72 British MEPs, including UKIP’s Nigel Farage.  UK divided into 12 European electoral regions (elections 22 May this year). European Parliament

11  MEPs sit in chamber according to political affiliation. Seven main groups. Conservatives pulled out of European People’s Party (EPP) to take part in eurosceptic alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).  Once regarded as a talking shop but it now has ‘joint’ legislative powers with the Council of Ministers and assesses Commission proposals. European Parliament

12  Martin Schulz – President of EP

13  Most powerful EU institution.  Comprises of departmental ministers from each of the 28 member states.  Composition varies according to issue being debated.  10 broad policy areas including Economic and Financial Affairs, Environment, and Justice and Home Affairs.  Commission proposes policy ideas but Council makes them law. Council of Ministers

14  Europe’s supreme legal institution.  28 members – one judge per member state.  13 judges hear a case at any one time.  Based in Luxembourg City.  Areas of EU law covered are: free trade, employment law, competition law and public sector regulation. European Court of Justice

15  Composed of the heads of state or government of all 28 member states.  Meets up to four times a year.  It has no legislative power but a member state can complain formally to the Council if it disagrees with a Council of Ministers decision.  Job of mapping overall future strategic direction of the EU.  Current President is Herman Van Rompuy. European Council

16  Officially came into being in  Preceded by the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) in 1979 which fixed the range or margins within which member states’ currencies could fluctuate (measured by the European Currency Unit (ecu) and also by later developments in the Maastricht Treaty.  Britain signed up to the ERM in 1990 but pulled out on 16 September 1992 (‘Black Wednesday’) after speculators forced Chancellor Lamont to first raise interest rates and then when pound continued to fall he froze interest rates and withdrew from the ERM. The Euro

17  Often mistakenly considered part of the EU, the Council of Europe works to establish common legal standards and human rights across its 47 member states.  It houses the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and it implemented and upholds the European Convention on Human Rights.  The Council of Europe

18  The Convention “secures, first and foremost, the right to life, a fair trial, freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion, but also respect for private and family life and the protection of property. It prohibits torture, degrading treatment, forced labour, unlawful detention and discrimination ‘in the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms it guarantees’” (Henley 2014). The Council of Europe

19  Cameron has pledged a referendum on British membership of the EU by the end of 2017 if he is re- elected. Cameron has stated he wants to stay in EU but argues it requires reforms on issues such as clawing back of EU powers in environment, social affairs and crime, fewer EU commissioners, and repeal of the current working hours directive.  Interview with Jose Manuel Barroso:  Current Issues

20  Cameron has in recent years got the UK out of the bail out of Euro zone countries, he vetoed UK membership of a fiscal treaty, and was involved in cutting the EU budget.   cameron-blocks-eu-treaty cameron-blocks-eu-treaty  /Victory-for-David-Cameron-as-EU-budget-faces- cuts-for-first-time-in-history.html /Victory-for-David-Cameron-as-EU-budget-faces- cuts-for-first-time-in-history.html Current Issues

21  UK calls for restrictions on free movement of EU immigrants following lifting of restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants. The UK imposed 7-year restrictions on free flow of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants when they joined EU in  news/2013/dec/30/tory-activists-call-restrictions- romanians-bulgarians news/2013/dec/30/tory-activists-call-restrictions- romanians-bulgarians  els-slaps-down-threats-immigration els-slaps-down-threats-immigration Current Issues

22  Home Secretary Theresa May has said the next Conservative Party’s manifesto will scrap the European Human Rights Act.  The European Court of Human Rights initially refused to allow the deportation to Jordan of Abu Qatada.  european-court-human-rights european-court-human-rights Current Issues

23  General debates and public opinion on British membership of EU:  britain-in-out-eu-referendum britain-in-out-eu-referendum  eu-falls-record-low eu-falls-record-low  k-poll-reveals-gulf-britain-eu-france-germany-poland- hostile k-poll-reveals-gulf-britain-eu-france-germany-poland- hostile Current Issues


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