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Calliess: Subsidiarity is a legal principle

 

Christian Calliess of the University of Göttingen tried to formulate criteria for the subsidiarity and proportionality check from the academic's point of view. In so doing he contradicted the politicians before him who believed that subsidiarity control was a political task. He said that, on the contrary, the subsidiarity principle was a component part of the EC Treaty and thus a legal principle and not a political principle. According to Calliess, judicial control by the European Court of Justice was required.

Given the basic structure of the EC Treaty, there were three questions in relation to subsidiarity: First one must examine whether the EU should act at all. Then the question of exercise of competence had to be asked, whether the EU should also make use of its competence. If these questions were answered in the affirmative, then attention had to be given to the nature, the scope and the intensity of regulation, assuming the greatest possible protection of decentralised structures.

Calliess also assessed the Constitutional Treaty in a less positive manner, since its protocol was limited to laying down procedural rules and thus dematerialised the subsidiarity principle compared with the Treaty of Amsterdam. Calliess emphasised that this represented a considerable deterioration which was why he argued for the criteria in the Amsterdam protocol to be included in the Treaty. He said that material criteria and standards were needed to justify measures. Material criteria and procedural rules were inextricably linked. Therefore the Constitutional Treaty had to have material enrichment.

 

Date: 20.04.2006