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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Principles of subsidiarity and proportionality

 

The division of tasks between the European Union and the Member States is central to the debate on the future of Europe. This is because of concerns that many decisions are taken in Brussels and that too little account is taken of national and local circumstances. The Maastricht Treaty established subsidiarity, i.e. the principle that a matter should be regulated by the political level best suited to do so. However, the application of the principle of subsidiarity in practice must be constantly reviewed and adapted if necessary.

The conference in St. Pölten will also take account of the contributions at the conference in The Hague in November 2005 on "Striking the right balance between EU and Member State action".

What is subsidiarity?

In areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall take action, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the Community (Art. 5 of the EC Treaty). The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe includes the regional and local level in the definition (cf. Art I-11 of the Constitutional Treaty).

What is proportionality?

Under the principle of proportionality, actions by the EU may not exceed what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaties (cf. Art. 5 of the EC Treaty).

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Date: 23.03.2006