EU external relations

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on the European Unionís external relations. 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

26.05.2016EU Referendum: analysis of the UK's new EU Settlement
This Commons Library briefing looks at the new Settlement for the United Kingdom within the European Union agreed at the European Council on 17-19 February 2016. The Settlement consists of seven texts: a Decision and a Statement of Heads of State or Government and five Declarations.
22.04.2016Examples of other referendums on the European Union
This Commons Library Note charts referendums held since 1972 on EU matters in candidate and Member States, and also in Switzerland on its relations with the EU, with brief details on turnout and results. It also outlines the positions of France and Austria on holding a referendum on EU enlargement, particularly with regard to a possible Turkish accession.
13.04.2016In brief: UK-EU economic relations
This note sets out, in brief, some of the main indicators of the UK's economic relationship with the EU, including trade, investment, employment and the UK's contribution to the EU Budget.
08.04.2016EU Referendum: the process of leaving the EU
This Commons Library briefing paper looks at some of the issues that are likely to arise for the UK during a withdrawal process and afterwards. A UK vote to leave the EU on 23 June 2016 would trigger an untested procedure for withdrawal. There could be a complex and difficult negotiation lasting two years or more, or the UK could leave without settling its exit terms or its future relationship with the EU.
29.03.2016EU external agreements: EU and UK procedures
This Commons Library briefing looks at the procedures and some of the problems linked to treaty negotiation and ratification in the EU and the Member States, with particular reference to the UK. The EU concludes many international agreements with third States or international organisations. How does the EU negotiate these agreements and how does the UK scrutinise and ratify them?
12.02.2016EU referendum: impact of an EU exit in key UK policy areas
This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers how it might change if the UK left the EU: would UK citizens benefit? This would depend on how the Government filled any policy gaps left by withdrawal.
04.12.2015The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
A briefing on the background, negotiation process and controversial points of the proposed EU-US free trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
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.
28.09.2015The Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda
On 25 September UN Member States agreed 17 'Sustainable Development Goals' at an extraordinary Summit of the UN General Assembly. At various points during the negotiations, the UK Government expressed concern that 17 goals was too many. Debates continue over how far the goals embody a 'transformational agenda'.
11.03.2015Sanctions over the Ukraine conflict
The EU announced broad economic sanctions against Russia on 29 July 2014 including restrictions on some Russian banks' ability to borrow money in EU financial markets, and an arms embargo

Lords Library Notes

12.05.2016Queen's Speech 2016 Day 2: Foreign and European Affairs, International Development and Defence
The House of Lords is due to debate the Queen's Speech over four days between 19 and 25 May 2016. This briefing is one of four prepared by the House of Lords Library to cover the themes of each day of debate.
10.09.2015Sustainable Development Goals: Parliamentary Perspectives
UN member states are expected to agree a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) at a high level summit in New York from 25 to 27 September 2015. This Library Note provides information on issues relating to the SDGs which have attracted parliamentary attention over recent months including the number of goals; universal health coverage; climate change; and implementation and monitoring.
01.12.2014The Role of Soft Power and Non-Military Options in Conflict Prevention
On 5 December 2014, the House of Lords is scheduled to debate the following motion: 'that this House takes note of the role of soft power and non-military options in conflict prevention'.

Select Committee Reports

20.03.2012EU: Sudan and South Sudan - follow-up report.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
14.06.2011EU and Sudan: on the brink of change.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
18.01.2011Future inter-parliamentary scrutiny of EU foreign, defence and security policy.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
09.03.2010Stars and dragons: the EU and China.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]

Early Day Motions

That this House supports the proposed statement by the Council of the European Union drafted by the Swedish Presidency calling for negotiations on a two-state solution leading to an ...
That this House notes media reports that the EU-Syria Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement is due to be signed on 26 October 2009; further notes that the Association Agreement can ...
10.11.2008EU AND RUSSIA
That this House agrees with the decision of the European Council meeting on 1st September 2008 to suspend negotiations with Russia on a new partnership and cooperation agreement following ...
That this House believes that trade is often better than aid for developing countries and is a powerful driver of growth, positive development, elimination of corruption and poverty ...
That this House condemns the attendance of Robert Mugabe at the United Nations conference on food security in Rome; notes that although there is a European Union travel ban upon him, ...

Feature publication

The page highlights the analysis and comment on the in-out referendum and presents an impartial view of the different arguments and opinions.


  • 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