Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

On Thursday, Parliament adopted its conclusions on the Commission annual reports on subsidiarity and proportionality for the 2017-2019 period and its better law making tools.

In its report, adopted with 620 votes in favour, 20 against and 51 abstentions, Parliament stressed the importance of national parliaments’ involvement from the early stages EU law making and encourage the use of their subsidiarity and proportionality rights.

The role of national parliaments in the EU policy cycle

EU Treaties provide for the responsibility of national parliaments to examine all proposals, as well as to scrutinise compliance with the principle of subsidiarity and proportionality. The report highlights that the application of the subsidiarity and proportionality principles are the starting point for EU law making and essential for the policy life cycle.

The report welcomes the recommendations of the Task Force on subsidiarity and proportionality and on “doing less more efficiently”. MEPs ask for the implementation of their conclusions, namely involving local and regional authorities fully in consultations and assessing both principles more consistently by all levels of government.

Increasing citizens’ participation

The text also calls on the Commission to do more to bring Europe closer to its citizens, and points out that engaging their elected representatives in EU matters proves very effective. The Conference on the Future of Europe will provide an excellent opportunity for citizens to communicate on the real impact of legislation and to make suggestions on how to achieve Better Law Making goals and reassess the subsidiarity principle.

The report calls for a revision of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU to introduce a direct right of legislative initiative for the (directly elected) Parliament. MEPs regret that the “efficiency of the institution’s decision-making process” is routinely invoked to refuse public access to documents, which risks becoming the de facto rule. They welcome the establishment of the ‘Have Your Say’ web portal, and ask for further tools that enable the direct involvement of citizens and stakeholders.

Better Law-Making tools and modernised EU legislation

The report welcomes the use of better law making tools, such as the regulatory fitness and performance programme (REFIT) and the Regulatory Scrutiny Board, but calls for their simplification and enhancement. Impact assessments should also be improved and include an analysis of subsidiarity and proportionality. MEPs welcome the establishment of the Fit for Future platform (F4F), which advises the Commission on how to make EU legislation more efficient. They highlight the role of the European Parliamentary Research Service, which provides for ex-ante impact assessments and European added value analysis of proposals.

MEPs take note of the “one in one out principle”, which aims to offset newly introduced principles by relieving equivalent burdens at EU level, and recall that this approach should not hamper the objectives of good regulation, nor lead to mechanical decisions or lower EU standards.


The principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, laid down in Article 5 of the Treaty of the European Union, govern the exercise of the EU’s competences. The Commission has received 52 reasoned opinions from national parliaments on the principle of subsidiarity in 2017, 37 in 2018 and none in 2019 (which was the year of the European election).

Further information

Source – EP:


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