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The authoritative source for independent research on UK-EU relations

A Changing EU


This fact was correct when it was updated on 24 Sep 2020

What are competences?

Competences are the areas of policy that governments have control over or responsibility for managing. At the EU level, some are held exclusively by the EU, such as on monetary policy for euro zone members and goods trade, and some are shared with member states, such as fisheries policy and environmental protection. Competences are also distributed within the UK, again with some areas such as foreign affairs or trade policy reserved to the UK government, whereas others are devolved to the governments in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh. There are still arguments between the UK government and the devolved governments about how to manage some of the powers returning from Brussels.

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