Today the European Parliament adopted the 2014 Report on Subsidiarity. Subsidiarity and proportionality are part of the important foundation of the European Union, simultaneously also some of the most difficult topics to communicate to our citizens.

These principles regulate European action by setting specified bounds. They ensure that decisions are taken as close as possible to the citizens to reach effective results. This is a call that we see more and more from the grassroots level – returning Europe back to its roots and taking European action only when it’s the best way to bring more prosperity and wellbeing to us all.

This is why an ever improved application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are essential for Europe’s well-functioning. Constant checks are made to verify that action at EU level is justified in light of the possibilities available at national, regional or local level. The European Committee of the Regions is active in this scrutiny, and we are happy to see the Parliament committing to further cooperation with us to enhance the legitimacy of the European Union. This is closely in line with the debate we had with President Tajani last week in our plenary session.

We are also pleased that that Parliament recognises the role of the CoR in subsidiarity and proportionality assessments and that our criticism towards incomplete or even non-existing justification of proportionality in certain Commission legislative proposals – such as the European Deposit Scheme with EPP-CoR Rapporteur Hans-Jörg Duppré – is echoed in the report where the European Parliament calls for enhanced proportionality assessments to be systematically carried out by the Commission when it brings forward new legislative proposals.

More broadly – and looking ahead – I can subscribe to the renewed commitment made by heads of state and government to “… work together at the level that makes a real difference, be it the European Union, national, regional, or local, and in a spirit of trust and loyal cooperation, both among Members States and between them and the EU institutions, in line with the principle of subsidiarity” as claimed in the declaration adopted on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaty.

Michael Schneider
President of the EPP-CoR Group

Note to the editors:
Subsidiarity: places the EU in a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be better performed at a more local level.
Proportionality: regulates the depth of the measure proposed, i.e. the content and form of the proposed action must be in keeping with the aim pursued.

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