Subsidiarity and Proportionality
What are subsidiarity and proportionality?
Subsidiarity is the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.
Subsidiarity is a fundamental principle of European Union law according to which the European Union may only act and make laws where Member States agree that the actions of individual countries is insufficient. The principle was established in the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht and is contained within the Lisbon Treaty.
Proportionality is a fundamental principle of European law which states that the European Union may only act to the extent that is needed to achieve its objectives and not further. This principle has underpinned the European Union since its inception in 1957. It is clearly stated in the third paragraph of Article 5 of the Treaty establishing the European Community
‘Any action by the Community shall not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of this Treaty.’