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A Bugdet Victory? The EU again ignores its Treaty

by on February 10, 2013
EU leaders may be congratulating each other on decreasing the EU budget for the first time ever, yet they have failed to reform a failing institution. It is time that the EU did what is meant to do instead of meddling in things it knows little about. A new “historical” budget would need to reflect this. The EU budget should focus on European scale projects, NOT regional funding and the Common Agricultural Policy. 

The subsidiarity principle

The EU stick  to its own treaties and stop ignoring article 5 of its own treaty, the subsidiarity principle (skip of quote possible). The subsidiarity principle states that:

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.The institutions of the Union shall apply the principle of subsidiarity as laid down in the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. National Parliaments ensure compliance with the principle of subsidiarity in accordance with the procedure set out in that Protocol.
4. Under the principle of proportionality, the content and form of Union action shall not exceed what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaties. The institutions of the Union shall apply the principle of proportionality as laid down in the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

Basically this means that  decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen and that constant checks are made to verify that action at Union level is justified in light of the possibilities available at national, regional or local level. Therefore if The Netherlands decides that building roads in the middle of Flevoland is a daft idea, what special knowledge do Brussels bureaucrats have that gives them the right to spend money on it anyway?

The same goes for the CAP. Why should efficient and innovative farmers in Holland support and maintain small inefficient and backward farming in France? Surely the aim would be to have efficient farming everywhere in Europe? Wouldn’t an internal market enable this best instead of subsidies and regulations?

European Projects

Instead of chiseling at the budget the leaders should have defined a leaner and meaner EU that fits within its treaty and designed a budget accordingly. If the subsidiarity principle was upheld the  The EU would focus on European projects. It would strengthen the internal market, not give aid to lobbying special interests. The EU court would settle European disputes that do not fall within national jurisdiction, instead of meddling with national laws. It would set-up a true European patent office to enhance innovation and entrepreneurship, instead of making business increasingly cumbersome.


Instead the leaders have chosen to ignore their own treaty. Spending most of the budget on CAP and regional funds. These funds do not only create inefficiencies at home, but dangers outside Europe. If anything the EU should have learned that the best road to peace is trade. Including Africans  in trade, NOT development aid will decrease the pull of terrorism.

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