I wish to inform the House that, 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 in July and his written statement on the progress of the review on 23 October 2012, Official Report, column 46WS, the Department for International Development (DFID) has published its call for evidence for the development co-operation and humanitarian aid report.
This report will be completed by summer 2013 and will cover the ways in which the European Union uses its powers to act in the sphere of development co-operation and humanitarian aid. Nearly 20% of DFID’s budget is managed through the European Commission, making the EU our biggest multilateral partner in terms of aid volume.
The report will deal with the range of development co-operation and humanitarian aid issues. The call for evidence also outlines the interdependencies between the development and humanitarian aid report and other related reports in order to clarify as far as possible the range of evidence we will be considering. A legal annex outlines the legal base for the current balance of competences, drawing chiefly on articles 208 to 214 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
The call for evidence period will be open for 12 weeks. DFID will draw together the evidence and policy analysis into a first draft, which will subsequently go through a process of scrutiny before publication in summer 2013.
DFID 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 to focus. Interested parties are invited to provide evidence relating to issues of competence in the fields of development co-operation and humanitarian aid. The evidence received (subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act) will be published alongside the final report in June 2013 and will be available on the new Government website: www.gov.uk.
DFID will pursue an active engagement process, consulting widely across Parliament and its Committees, the devolved Administrations, multilateral organisations such as the UN, and civil society 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. We aim to reach a wide range of interested parties to ensure a high yield of valuable information.
The result of the report will be a comprehensive, thorough and detailed analysis of how the EU’s actions in the fields of development co-operation and humanitarian aid impact the UK and our development objectives. 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.
I am placing this document and the call for evidence in the Library of the House. They will also be published on the DFID website and accessible through the balance of competences review pages on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.