EU law and treaties

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on European Union law and treaties. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

30.12.2015EU reform negotiations: what's going on?
What's happened to the EU reform proposals that the Prime Minister David Cameron announced and on which the in-out referendum by 2017 will be based? "Technical talks" are taking place in secret between EU and UK officials, and very little information is available to shed light on progress. This note looks at launch of the UK reform agenda at the European Council in June 2015, bilateral talks with other EU leaders, EU institutional initiatives which might be relevant to the Government's reforms and other developments.
24.11.2015The UK and the EU: reform, renegotiation, withdrawal? A reading list
By the end of 2017, after EU reform negotiations, the UK will hold a referendum on whether to stay in the European Union. This paper provides a reading list of relevant publications.
16.11.2015"Ever Closer Union" in the EU Treaties and Court of Justice case law
"Ever closer union" is an EU aim and is enshrined in the EU Treaties. Yet David Cameron would like to remove it - or to exempt the UK from it. This note looks at its history, its survival through several Treaty changes and its use by the EU Court of Justice.
29.10.2015European Union (Approvals) Bill 2015-16
This Bill fulfils a requirement of the European Union Act 2011 that EU legislative proposals based on the 'catch-all' Article 352 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union must be approved by an Act of Parliament before the UK can support their adoption in the EU Council. The Bill deals with two relatively uncontroversial proposals concerning the Republic of Macedonia becoming an observer on an EU human rights body and a draft decision on the Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment.
13.07.2015The 1974-75 UK Renegotiation of EEC Membership and Referendum
Why did the UK Government decide to renegotiate the UK's terms of EEC membership in 1974-75? What was the outcome of the negotiations and what did the Referendum Bill say? This briefing looks at the Labour Government's renegotiation and indicates where there are parallels with the present Government's renegotiation agenda.
18.06.2015The European Arrest Warrant
This note considers the European Arrest Warrant, including an overview of the benefits it brings and the criticisms it gives rise to. Parliament has made a number of recent changes to the regime aimed at addressing criticism, and subsequently voted in favour of the UK remaining within the European Arrest Warrant framework.
15.06.2015EU Treaty change: the parliamentary process of bills
How does Parliament deal with EU Treaty amendments? Is primary legislation needed to implement them? This briefing looks at the parliamentary process of bills linked to the ratification of EU Treaty amendments and compares the amount of time spent on the major EU Treaties since the UK joined the European Economic Community in 1973.
09.06.2015EU exit: impact in key UK policy areas
If the UK left the EU, would UK citizens benefit? This would depend on how the Government filled any policy gaps left by withdrawal. In some areas, the environment, for example, where the UK is bound by other international agreements, much of the content of EU law would probably remain. In others, the government might decide to retain the substance of EU law, or to remove EU obligations from UK statutes. Much would also depend on whether the UK sought to remain in the European Economic Area and therefore continue to have access to the single market, or preferred to go it alone and negotiate bilateral agreements with the EU. This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers how it might change be if the UK left the EU.
04.06.2015Exiting the EU: UK reform proposals, legal impact and alternatives to membership
The UK will hold a referendum on whether to stay in the European Union by the end of 2017, after the Government has negotiated reforms which will benefit the UK. The Prime Minister is expected to outline these reforms to the European Council in June 2015. What might the impact be of a decision to leave the EU? How would the UK leave? Would the UK join a different grouping of states or go it alone? Would EU or UK citizens or businesses have any vested rights? This paper considers the background to the EU referendum, the withdrawal process, various legal and constitutional issues and possible alternatives to EU membership.
28.05.2015EEA migrants: access to social housing (England)
This note gives an overview of EEA migrants' eligibility to apply for social housing in England and considers the question of whether these people have preferential access to social housing and can 'jump the housing queue.'

Lords Library Notes

08.10.2015European Union Referendum Bill
This Library Note provides background reading for the European Union Referendum Bill, debated ay second reading in the House of Lords on 13 October 2015.
24.04.2014The European Union
This Library Note provides an outline of the history and development of the European Union.
25.01.2013Debate on 31 January: Prime Minister's Speech on Europe
This Library Note provides a short history of Prime Ministerial speeches on Europe since 1970; outlines Government policy towards Europe since 2010; summarises David Cameron's speech and selected reaction to it; and considers some aspects of the proposed renegotiation and referendum. It concludes with information about trends in public opinion towards Britain's membership of the EU.
12.12.2012Debate on 17 December: European Union (Croatian Accession and Irish Protocol) Bill (HL Bill 59) and European Union (Approvals) Bill [HL] (HL Bill 57)
This Library Note provides background information in advance of the second readings in the House of Lords of the European Union (Croatian Accession and Irish Protocol) Bill and the European Union (Approvals) Bill.
16.05.2012European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Bill (HL Bill 3 of 2012-13)
This Library Note provides background reading in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Bill [HL] on 23 May 2012.
10.02.2012Debate on 16 February: Recent Developments in the European Union
This Library Note considers reaction to recent developments in the EU, ahead of the debate in the House of Lords on 16 February 2012.


15.07.2014Big Data and Business
POSTnote exploring how big data is being used by UK companies and the challenges and opportunities it presents.
Bioenergy is the use of renewable natural material for power, heat and liquid fuels. Currently, the UK sources approximately 3% of its primary energy from bioenergy feedstocks. This POSTnote considers the opportunities and challenges of producing bioenergy sustainably to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.
01.07.2009Environmental noise, July 2009
This POSTnote examines the effects of noise, the EU Environmental Noise Directive (END) and practical measures for noise management.
01.06.2009Crop protection, June 2009
The pesticide approvals process in Europe is changing. This POSTnote explores the potential implications for UK agriculture and horticulture and examines other crop protection strategies available that complement or compensate for pesticides.

Select Committee Reports

13.07.2011Reasoned opinions on subsidiarity under the Lisbon Treaty.
Procedure Select Committee report [Commons]
08.03.2011Amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
01.02.2011Implementing the Stockholm Programme: home affairs.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
11.01.2011EU Strategy for economic growth and the UK National Reform Programme.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
10.01.2011The EU Bill and Parliamentary sovereignty.
Government response. European Scrutiny Committee; Foreign and Commonwealth Office report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House calls on the Government to give the British people a referendum on UK membership of the EU.
That this House notes the proposals floated by Germany and France to re-open the Lisbon Treaty in order to force Member States that find themselves in a severe financial crisis, as ...
That this House notes that the UK natural health products industry currently faces a grave threat both to its businesses and consumer choices from the unforeseen impact of implementation ...
That this House is concerned at the delay by the Government in depositing relevant papers with the European Scrutiny Committee; believes that following the entry into force of the Lisbon ...
That this House notes with concern that Article 69E, Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters, of the Treaty of Lisbon provides for the creation of a European Public Prosecutor's Office ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses

UK Parliament committee