Subsidiarity and proportionality

For reasons I was looking at the limitations that the EU’s principle of Subsidiarity places on it, I was specifically interested in the limitation it places on the member states. Here are my notes …

  1. The Treaty on the EU also on wikipedia
  2. The Charter of Fundamental Rights
  3. Protocol 2 on subsidiarity and proportionality
  5. The Committee of Regions, its home page, I think.
  6. An EU MECHANISM ON DEMOCRACY, THE RULE OF LAW AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS , this Research Paper provides an overview of the existing EU mechanisms which aim to guarantee democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights within the EU itself, as set in Article 2 TEU.


TEU Article 4
1. In accordance with Article 5, competences not conferred upon the Union in the Treaties remain with the Member States.
2. The Union shall respect the equality of Member States before the Treaties as well as their national identities, inherent in their fundamental structures, political and constitutional, inclusive of regional and local self-government. It shall respect their essential State functions, including ensuring the territorial integrity of the State, maintaining law and order and safeguarding national security.  …
Article 5  (ex Article 5 TEC)
1. The limits of Union competences are governed by the principle of conferral. The use of Union competences is governed by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
2. Under the principle of conferral, the Union shall act only within the limits of the competences conferred upon it by the Member States in the Treaties to attain the objectives set out therein. Competences not conferred upon the Union in the Treaties remain with the Member States.
3. Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level.
Articles 4 & 5 of TEU establish the primacy, legitimacy and the residual power of member states. The definition of regional legitimacy belongs to the member states. The Union needs to act according to the principles of Subsidiarity and proportionality but the member states do not.
From A 10, “Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen” might be seen as a commitment by the member states.
A13 specifies that the Committee of Regions is an advisory body to the Parliament, It is thus a mandatory body, its relationship and powers are defined here.
There’s some sanctioning words somewhere, in Article 7,  as it is a clear diminishing of member state sovereignty although the sanctions are limited.


CFR A22 The Union shall respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, A14 the Right to Education reinforces the cultural, religious and linguisitc autonomy of citizerns,

Protocol 2

P2 A6 states that the duty to consult regionally belongs to national parliaments to be undertaken where appropriate. A7 defines a scrutiny process giving each chamber in the national parliaments the opportunity to oppose legislation on the grounds it breaches the principles, sets thresholds and defines an exception process.

Comment ( 1 )

  1. COFOE, Panel 2 recommendations |
    […] also my article on Subsidiarity and Proportionality which points the TEU and Article 7 which is the sanctions clause in the […]

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