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 Full text 
Procedure : 2015/2283(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0114/2017

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 16/05/2017 - 15
CRE 16/05/2017 - 15

Votes :

PV 17/05/2017 - 10.2

Texts adopted :


Tuesday, 16 May 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

15. Annual report 2014 on subsidiarity and proportionality (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Sajjad Karim, rapporteur . – Mr President, may I start first of all by recognising the tremendous confidence that colleagues have placed in me by supporting my rapporteurship on a continued basis for this file. It is greatly appreciated, bearing in mind the changing political dynamics within the European Union. May I also give due recognition to Commissioner Frans Timmermans for his attitude towards this file and, in particular, for taking on the mantle of ‘Europe only where necessary’.

I would like to start by thanking all of my shadow rapporteurs involved in this report who have contributed to the final text, and for allowing it to reach this particular stage with relative ease. It was adopted with a large majority in committee.

I will try to summarise the key points within the report as quickly and efficiently as possible. As is always the case with this annual report, which I have taken the lead on for some years now, it aims to strengthen the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. As laid out in the Treaty of Lisbon, they are guiding principles of the European Union and should always be respected fully. 2014 saw a decrease in the number of reasoned opinions issued by national parliaments, but my report notes that this could be put down to a significant decline in the number of proposals from the Commission. It also draws attention to the fact that justifications of subsidiarity and proportionality by the Commission have, on many occasions, been deemed incomplete or non—existent by some national parliaments. As a result, I have asked the Commission in my report to improve its explanatory statements with a factually-substantiated analysis of its proposals on subsidiarity and proportionality grounds.

The report refers to the Impact Assessment Board too, as it considered just 32% of impact assessments in 2015 unsatisfactory in relation to analysis of subsidiarity and proportionality. This is the same figure as the year before, which to me shows that in this area there is a need for improvement. The key change in this year’s report is that it calls for reasoned opinions to also consider proportionality and not just subsidiarity. I am passionate about that, as determining whether or not legislation is proportionate is often neglected, but it is equally important. This would require a revision of the Treaties, but in my opinion it is a necessity and a greater step towards reducing the democratic deficit.

I am pleased that groups supported my recommendation for an evaluation of the number of national parliaments required for a yellow card to be triggered. I think it is a good idea for the status quo to be questioned once in a while, and for us to step back and consider whether the thresholds are appropriate. Furthermore, I have called for proportionality tests to be able to discard proposals with disproportionate burdens on competitiveness and SMEs. This is crucial for business back home, regardless of the Member State, if they are to remain competitive.

There are also proposals for an extension of the time limit for national parliaments to submit opinions which could be carried out by secondary legislation and subsequently incorporated into the next treaty revision. I think it is important to take into account the fact that there are instances where national parliaments simply cannot present a reasoned opinion in the timeframe – in cases of a natural disaster, for example.

Last updated: 14 December 2017Legal notice