Tuesday 17 March 2009

European Council’s Progress Report (subsidiarity & proportionality)

According to Article 4 of the Treaty on European Union the European Council shall submit to the European Parliament a yearly written report on the progress achieved by the Union.


Commission’s obligation

Protocol (No 30) on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality (1997) places on the Commission an obligation to report annually on the application of Article 5 TEC:

…submit an annual report to the European Council, the European Parliament and the Council on the application of Article 5 of the Treaty. This annual report shall also be sent to the Committee of the Regions and to the Economic and Social Committee.

Better Lawmaking 2007

The Commission has indeed reported, in the Report from the Commission on subsidiarity and proportionality (15th report on Better Lawmaking, 2007); Brussels, 26.9.2008 COM(2008) 586 final.


European Council’s obligation

According to point 10 the same Protocol No 30:

10. The European Council shall take account of the Commission report referred to in the fourth indent of point 9 within the report on the progress achieved by the Union which it is required to submit to the European Parliament in accordance with Article 4 of the Treaty on European Union.


General Affairs Council

Yesterday the Council (General Affairs and External Relations) took note of the European Council’s Draft report on the progress achieved by the European Union in 2008 (Council document 6788/1/09 REV1).

(The provisional General Affairs conclusions are found in Council document 7564/09.)


Taking into account?

The Draft report is, as usual, meagre: 11 pages in all.

But how is the world going to know if or how the European Council takes into account the Commission’s report with regard to subsidiarity and proportionality?

The draft does not mention subsidiarity or proportionality or Article 5. The Commission’s report is not mentioned either.


Treaty level obligations

Earlier we came to the (provisional) conclusion that the European Parliament shows no interest in the treaty obligation to discuss the Commission’s Annual General Report.

Today we wonder if the European Council acknowledges the report on subsidiarity and proportionality by osmosis.

Nit-picking or not, but why agree on legally binding obligations without even formally bowing to their existence?

Ralf Grahn

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