Hague reveals roadmap to get back EU powers

FOREIGN secretary William Hague yesterday unveiled details of a government review that paves the way for European Union powers to be repatriated to the UK.

Hague said the “Balance of Competences Review” will detail areas where the EU can exert power in the UK. It will consider 32 distinct issues – starting with taxation, health and foreign policy – before completing its work in 2014.

He insisted the review “will not produce specific policy recommendations” but a detailed report will make it substantially easier for politicians to demand specific powers are returned to Westminster.

Yesterday Hague told a Berlin audience that “public disillusionment with the EU in Britain is the deepest it has ever been”. On German demands for a stronger EU he added that “sometimes less is more, less is better”, echoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mantra that the answer to the Eurozone debt crisis is “more Europe, not less Europe”.

The announcement came as the European Parliament voted in favour of an inflation-busting 6.8 per cent increase in EU spending, despite a collective effort from all UK MEPs – including the Lib Dems – to block the plan.

“The EU would be stronger if it made more sense to people, by only acting where there was clear justification for action at the European level,” Hague said in response.