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Implementing our EU Obligations

Influencing, Negotiating and Implementing EU Obligations

To ensure that Scotland’s interests are taken into account in the form and content of legislation, the Scottish Government will scrutinise proposed EU legislation which impacts on Scotland.  As part of this process, the Scottish Government will assist  the UK Government with the preparation of explanatory memoranda (briefing documents which seek to explain the likely impact of EU proposals on the UK) and ensure that Scotland’s interests are reflected before the documents are submitted to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.  The Scottish Government will also flag any proposals it considers breach the principle of subsidiarity (i.e. the proposal would not be more effective than action taken at national, regional or local level) to the Scottish Parliament, so that it may, in turn, raise a concern with the proposing institution via the Westminster Parliament.

The Scottish Government will timeously and effectively implement and enforce EU obligations which fall within the devolved competence of the Scottish Parliament.  The Scottish Government will update the Scottish Parliament on a six-monthly basis of the measures that are being adopted in implementation of these obligations, and will also provide information on any measures which are being adopted by the UK Parliament on Scotland’s behalf.

Where the European Commission initiates informal or formal proceedings against the UK for alleged breaches of EU law which relate to Scotland, the Scottish Government will work with the UK Government to ensure that Scotland’s interests are represented. These representations may be made to the European Commission and/or the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Guidance for Policy Officials

We have published guidance to offer practical advice for Scottish Government policy officials in handling EU obligations. The guidance is made up of four separate booklets:

Influencing EU Policy 

This guidance explains the EU decision making process; offers advice on engaging and influencing in the early stages of EU policymaking; and advises on participation in the formal negotiating and decision making process.

Explanatory Memoranda 

This guidance explains the purpose of Explanatory Memoranda (EM), the briefing mechanism used to assess the implications of EU policy in the UK, and outlines the practical steps in responding to EMs and engaging the Scottish Parliament.

Implementing EU Obligations

This guidance aims to assist policy officials in exercising their responsibility for implementing EU legal obligations in their policy area.

Handling Infractions

This guidance explains the role of the Scottish Government in infraction proceedings and provides an overview of the types of infraction cases. It then offers pratical guidance in handling and responding to infraction cases in a timely and effective manner.