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Balance of Competences Review

Volume 554: debated on Tuesday 27 November 2012

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health, Earl Howe, has made the following written ministerial statement:

Further to the oral statement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs launching the review of the Balance of Competences on 12 July 2012, Official Report, column 468, and his written ministerial statement on the progress of the review on 23 October 2012, Official Report, column 46WS, we are today publishing a call for evidence for the health report.

The health report will be completed by summer 2013 and will cover the overall application of EU competence in health. While responsibility for health policy is a matter for individual member states, the EU has an important role in various issues related to public health and health care. The health report is an opportunity to look at this role and to examine the evidence concerning the impact of EU competence in health on the UK’s national interest.

The call for evidence period will last for 12 weeks. The Department will draw together the evidence into a first draft, which will subsequently go through a process of scrutiny before publication in summer 2013.

We will take a rigorous approach to the collection and analysis of evidence. The call for evidence sets out the scope of the report and includes a series of broad questions on which contributors are invited to focus. The evidence received (subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act) will be published alongside the final report in summer 2013.

The Department will pursue an active engagement process, consulting widely across Parliament and its Committees, the health sector and the devolved Administrations in order to obtain evidence to contribute to our analysis of the issues. Our EU partners and the EU institutions will also be invited to contribute evidence to the review.

The result of the report will be a comprehensive analysis of EU competence in health and what this means for the United Kingdom. It will aid our understanding of the nature of our EU membership; and it will provide a constructive and serious contribution to the wider European debate about modernising, reforming and improving the EU. The report will not produce specific policy recommendations.

“Review of the Balance of Competences: Health—Call for Evidence” has been placed on the Library. It is also available at: //eu-balance-competence-review/.