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ReK och Bundesrat: "Att respektera balansen mellan alla regeringsnivåer kan hjälpa till att motverka euroskepsis"

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Euroskepticism“As the EU faces one of the gravest crises in its history, the return of subsidiarity into the Eurosceptic debate could be an opportunity to help secure better EU legislation.”

This was the opening message of Committee of the Regions President Ramón Luis Valcárcel, at the 6th Subsidiarity Conference co-organised with the German Bundesrat in Berlin on 18 December.    Valcárcel highlighted the risks if the discussion fails to look to the future: “Subsidiarity will remain a dead letter if all the stakeholders involved act independently and on their own. Together, we can constructively put subsidiarity at the centre of the debate for better governance in Europe with collaborative thinking that benefits people on the ground.”

The CoR president gave his views on the ongoing debate in some member states about the review of the EU competences: “Subsidiarity is not simply about less legislation at EU level: it is about getting legislation in at the right level, as close as possible to citizens. Now more than ever, we need a Europe that is ever closer to grass-roots concerns.”

The need to harness public support for a constructive approach to subsidiarity was also underlined by Bundesrat President Stephan Weil: “Citizens’ trust in Europe and the European idea must be strengthened again actively” he said, adding that: “Even in a bigger, more united Europe, issues that can best be addressed locally, should be addressed locally.”

The chair of the CoR Subsidiarity Monitoring Network, Michael Schneider (EPP/DE), who is the Saxony-Anhalt Envoy to the Federal Government and a member of the Bundesrat, outlined the institutional function of the Committee and its commitment to subsidiarity: “The Lisbon Treaty gave the CoR more responsibility here as it can now bring an action before the EU Court of Justice on grounds of subsidiarity. But it is much more important for the CoR to provide input into European decision-making early, long before the final judicial stage. Moreover, we are seeking to foster shared responsibility among European, national, regional and local institutions for ensuring the correct application of the subsidiarity and proportionality principles so as to put in place a truly Europe-wide subsidiarity culture.”

The debate then turned to the role of national and regional parliaments, mainly in relation to the Subsidiarity Early Warning System that gives them the opportunity to oppose to EU draft legislation on the grounds of infringement of the subsidiarity principle. The two recent cases where this system came into play – the Monti II Regulation and the proposal to create a European Public Prosecutor’s Office – provided an opportunity to critically assess the arrangements and to propose improvements, ranging from an extension of the eight-week deadline for national parliaments to react, to the lowering of the thresholds for triggering the mechanism and the inclusion of non-legislative  initiatives in the scrutiny.

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