HC Deb 20 May 2002 vol 386 cc60-1W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what precedents and rules have been adopted by institutions of the European Community in coming to a decision as to whether actions are better achieved by national or Community action, with reference to Article 5 TEC. [56633]

Peter Hain

The treaty of Amsterdam annexed to the treaty establishing the European Community a Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality to define more precisely the criteria for applying them and to ensure their strict observance and consistent implementation by all institutions. Legislative proposals must be explicitly justified in terms of subsidiarity. The choice of legal instrument employed is also subject to the subsidiarity test.

The Government welcome the opportunity, afforded by the Convention on the Future of Europe, to examine the question of subsidiarity and the delimitation of competencies between the Union and the member states. We support the Amsterdam Protocol., but will be seeking ways to embed this principle more robustly within the EU's system of institutions, and to consider mechanisms that will monitor—and enforcs—eubsidiarity and proportionality more effectively.